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Orange Coast College renames its Newport Beach facilities after the waterfront

Dignitaries attend a groundbreaking ceremony for new Maritime Training Center on Monday.
Dignitaries attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the Professional Mariner Training Center in 2019.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Orange Coast College’s marine facilities in Newport Beach are now going by a new name, following approval by the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees earlier this month.

What was the Intercollegiate Rowing and Sailing Base and the Professional Mariner Training Center on West Coast Highway will now be collectively called the Orange Coast College Waterfront Campus.

Campus officials said expansion of the Costa Mesa college’s footprint in Newport Beach has been met positively by locals and the boating community at large.

“Our community boating, intercollegiate rowing and professional mariner programs will continue to grow and evolve with our new designation as OCC’s Waterfront Campus, and our mission to provide nautical education of the highest quality will continue,” said Sarah Hirsch, director of the Orange Coast College Waterfront Campus, in a statement issued by the college.

Discussions to name the locale began last fall when maritime staff met with Hirsch, Doug Bennett, the executive director of college advancement and foundation, and then-interim vice president of instruction Pamela Walker.

Beneath the umbrella name, the two facilities will retain their individual names — the Intercollegiate Rowing and Sailing Base and the Professional Mariner Training Center.

Renaming the Newport Beach location will allow the college to market the programs available on West Coast Highway in one place to streamline information for interested students and visitors, said district staff in a report prepared for the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees. The name was approved by several other entities on the campus, including but not limited to the Orange Coast College Foundation board and the College Council.

The Intercollegiate Rowing and Sailing Base houses the school’s sailing and seamanship programs. Meanwhile, the Professional Mariner Training Center is nearing completion. Ground broke on the project in September 2019. The two facilities will connect through a skyway bridge across Pacific Coast Highway.

Construction is expected to be completed by this summer.

The two-story, 12,000-square-foot training center will be home to the college’s Professional Mariner Program, which currently serves more than 1,500 students and adults annually.

“We are thrilled to provide a top-notch facility for our maritime students who are seeking training and education in order to either transfer to a four-year program or earn a certificate to further their career goals,” said Angelica Suarez, president of Orange Coast College, in the college’s news release.

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