Del Mar College Celebrates “New Era” with Official Opening of Oso Creek Campus
New facilities, technology, learning environments and “centers of excellence” showcased at College’s new campus on Corpus Christi’s southside; leaders thank community and district taxpayers for their support
Article by Melinda Eddleman
(Updated June 1, 2023: video added)
The day marked a “new era” for Del Mar College (DMC) with an “official” opening celebration on April 21 recognizing community support for the new Oso Creek Campus. Located on Corpus Christi’s southside at Yorktown Blvd. and Rodd Field Rd., DMC’s new 96-acre campus is the first the College has built in 65 years.
Ceremonial activities featured performances by the DMC Music Department’s student ensemble, Mariachi Del Mar, and the Zachary Kolda Elementary Cadet Chorale, along with the Presentation of the Colors by the Flour Bluff High School NJROTC Color Guard and the national anthem led by Professor of Music Dr. Rafael Rada. Board of Regents Chair Carol A. Scott and First Vice Chair Dr. Nicholas Adame, President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mark Escamilla and DMC Foundation Board of Trustees President C. Michelle Unda, Manager Regional HR & Public Affairs for NuStar Central West South Region, then addressed invited guests representing community, education, business, economic development and government leadership and College supporters.
The journey to build the Oso Creek Campus has been a long one with its first conceptualization by myself and members of the Board of Regents in April 2012 Even then, it was evident that we needed to accommodate the population explosion on the southside and grow some of our signature programs in modern facilities. Our students deserve it.
Dr. Escamilla added, “To say the least, this project took vision and unwavering commitment to embark on building a brand new campus, and the Oso Creek Campus has been an example of partnership and good stewardship from day one.”
After DMC Board of Regents and College leadership visioning, development of a Facilities Master Plan in 2012, purchase of land on the city’s southside in 2013, community input throughout 2014 and beyond and Del Mar College District taxpayers approving a $139 million Capital Improvement Project (CIP) bond referendum in 2016 supporting construction of the Oso Creek Campus, the area’s newest higher education site encompasses 249,544 sq. ft. of facility space that includes the Culinary Arts Building, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Building, Main Central Building and Central Plant.
This beautiful new campus is the largest of the major projects the College has undertaken in recent years to transform all of our campuses into the ultra-modern facilities our students need to excel in their chosen fields of study. Just over three years ago, we were standing here within view of farm fields, chicken coops and livestock pens. What a contrast.
Designed by the architectural team of internationally recognized firm Gensler and local firm Turner Ramirez Architects, the Oso Creek Campus reflects the beautiful sunrises and wave patterns of Corpus Christi’s beaches.
The campus’ three buildings are oriented to optimize the cooling effect of the central water feature and wind while reducing glare and heat from the South Texas sun. And, the blond bricks used on the buildings are similar to those used at the College’s Heritage Campus. Fulton Construction and Coastcon jointly served as project contractor for the new campus.
The Oso Creek Campus encompasses 249,544 sq. ft. of building space, including the:
• Culinary Arts Building (59,561 sq. ft.) housing ultramodern teaching spaces such as kitchen labs, a coffee shop, a public-accessible restaurant/dining facility to provide students with hands-on, real-world learning experience and the Tres Grace Family Foundation Community Rooms.
• STEM Building (100,915 sq. ft.) housing the Architecture and Drafting Technology program and Biology, Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing programs with contemporary teaching spaces, laboratories and equipment, along with other STEM-related programs such as Engineering. The building also houses the Legamaro Family Architectural Lab.
• Main Central Building (80,437 sq. ft.) housing a library, student services and a coffee shop.
• Central Plant (8,631 sq. ft.) as part of Physical Facilities operations.
Representing the DMC Foundation, Unda focused on how donors and the scholarships they support impact DMC students’ access to higher education during her remarks, noting, “We have two areas on this new Oso Creek Campus named for legacy commitments, the Tres Grace Family Foundation Community Rooms and the Legamaro Family Architectural Lab. In each case, these donors provided significant endowed gifts to provide scholarships to students far into the future.”
Guests also learned more about the campus during DMC staff led-tours, which started with finger foods at stations in each building that Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry Specialization students prepared in state-of-the-art kitchens that even the most accomplished chefs might envy. Guests also viewed student demonstrations and presentations, ranging from cooking demonstrations in the Culinary Arts Building to Architectural student project presentations, 3-D printing and Mechatronics in the STEM Building to a DMC Music student ensemble performing and Library staff speaking in the Main Central Building.
Current campus programming features “centers of excellence” made up of three areas of study: 1) Architecture and Drafting Technology, 2) Biology, Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing (bio-sciences) and 3) Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Offerings also include core university-transfer courses, along with dual credit, developmental, workforce training and continuing education courses.
The College began offering a limited number of courses in the STEM Building in mid-July 2022. Students could then take courses in both the STEM Building and Culinary Arts Building starting with the fall 2022 semester. In mid-January, the Main Central Building opened, completing construction of all three DMC buildings on the Oso Creek Campus.
Located on an “educational corridor” along Yorktown Blvd., the Oso Creek Campus provides close access to students attending high schools with three independent school districts–Mary Carroll, Veterans Memorial, Flour Bluff and London––as well as to students attending the two regional Texas A&M Universities.
To emphasize that access, future Del Mar College Vikings from several schools participated during the celebration, including Zachary Kolda Elementary School, Flour Bluff High School, Mary Carroll High School, Veterans Memorial High School, St. John Paul II High School, Richard Milburn Academy (RMA) Corpus Christi High School and the School of Science & Technology.
“This is the right campus at the right time for our students as this area continues to grow and be developed even as we speak. I want to echo Dr. Escamilla’ sentiment and say ‘Thank you’ to the Corpus Christi taxpayers for making this campus possible,” Regent Scott concluded during her remarks.
I was first elected to serve on the Del Mar College Board of Regents in 2008, so I’ve seen this campus evolve from an idea to what you see today. The Oso Creek Campus is a great leap into the future for the College and another great asset for our students.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.