Since retiring as the superintendent/president of Allan Hancock College 14 years ago, I have observed the college’s ongoing progress in improving its programs, student services, facilities, and accessibility. This tremendous progress has been made thanks to strong college leadership and community support. The college has literally undergone a transformation that better serves the residents of the college district, including our Santa Ynez Valley.
Allan Hancock College now proposes to continue this progress with the passage of Measure Y aimed at strengthening training programs for 21st century careers. Passage of Measure Y will fund improvements and replacement of facilities (some built in the 1960s), equipment, and technology for a wide scope of programs on the Santa Maria and Lompoc campuses.
I am addressing this letter specifically to my Santa Ynez Valley neighbors and friends because I want to call your attention to aspects of this bond measure that will very directly affect us here in the valley.
For 45 years the Solvang Festival Theater with the support of this community has provided the performance space for exciting professional theater produced by the college’s Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA.) We have all enjoyed performances that enliven our summers and enhance the quality of life in our valley.
Passage of Measure Y will specifically provide funding for equipment and technology for PCPA to greatly improve lighting and sound in our Solvang theater. (The law prohibits the college from investing in the Solvang Festival Theater facility.) Along with the direct impact on the theater here, the measure will also allow the college to take advantage of $24 million in state funding to build a new arts complex on the Santa Maria campus allowing the PCPA training program to move out of the rental facilities they now occupy and enhancing student learning in a modern facility. With upgraded equipment in the Solvang Festival Theater and new campus facilities for student training, valley residents can look forward to even better theater right here.
I urge you to join me in voting YES on Measure Y.
Ann Foxworthy Lewellen
Board Vice Chair, Solvang Theaterfest