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Updated: March 09, 2016


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Construction Continues on New Sunnyvale Education Center

In the fall of 2016, Foothill College will open its state-of-the art, 50,000 square-foot Sunnyvale Center. Conveniently located within the Moffett Business Park, the center will focus emerging skills as well as entry-level, in-demand fields. At this year's Opening Day, faculty and staff were invited to sign a beam to be used in construction of the building.

The site was previously home to the Onizuka Air Force Station, home to the Air Force's Air Force Satellite Control Facility (AFSCF), which was a space command and control unit. During the cold war and the space race the site figured prominently in operations, but its activities were kept top secret. At its peak, the site housed more than 1,200 people. It helped to track numerous satellites and missions including Gemini 8 in 1966 under the command of Neil Armstrong. During this mission, Armstrong, who later would be the first human to walk on the moon, was the first to successfully carry out a docking mission, rendezvousing with an unmanned Agena vehicle.

The Air Force also credits the base with being the birthplace of the "Corona" program. This program, under the direction of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), deployed reconnaissance satellites that were used for photographic surveillance of the areas including the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China. A reentry capsule (nicknamed "bucket") carrying film would separate from the satellite and fall to earth where it would ideally be caught mid-air by a plane via an airborne claw (also known as "star-catching").

In April 2007 the mission of the NRO at Onizuka AFS ended after 46 years and in 2010 the base was officially closed.

Only a few years later, in 2012, the Foothill - De Anza Community College District negotiated to obtain 9.15 acres of the 18.9-acre Onizuka site to build a new education center. Construction on the building began earlier this year and the steel frame is now visible from Highways 237 and 101.

Once complete, the Sunnyvale Center will feature 19 classrooms, two dedicated computer labs, and more than 850 seats. Additionally, the center will have admissions, counseling, and financial aid personnel so students will not have to travel between the two campuses. A café and bookstore will also be housed on the first floor.

An official grand opening will take place in September 2016. To follow along with the building’s progress, visit the Sunnyvale Center website.

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