While Placer County is known for its highly regarded K-12 schools, it is also home to Sierra College and William Jessup University in Rocklin and Brandman University in Roseville, and plans are in place to build a satellite Sacramento State campus in unincorporated southern Placer County to serve its growing population.
“Building this satellite campus has been in the works for decades,” says Steve Perez, provost and vice president of academic affairs of Sacramento State. He says providing a campus in Placer County will reduce the need for many students to commute to Sacramento. “We’ll be able to provide them with an education in their own community.”
The satellite campus will be on 300 acres in Placer Ranch, a 2,213-acre devel- opment within the Sunset Area Plan that will include 5,600 homes and more than 8.4 million square feet of commercial and nonresidential use. The satellite campus plans to offer both general education and some graduate courses. Perez says in the short term, the campus expects to serve 5,000 students. Sierra College will also have a center located on the university’s satellite campus. (Sierra already has an extension campus on Vernon Street in Roseville.)
Willy Duncan, Sierra College’s superintendent and president, recognizes the need for higher education in Placer County has steadily increased over the years. The college, founded in 1936, has an enrollment of 20,000, and Duncan supports the addition of more local institutions.
“I’m a firm believer in doing everything we can to expand our opportunities so that students can stay in the region,” Duncan says. “Investing in higher edu- cation allows us to do more. It creates a better trained workforce and a stronger economy.”
Echoing Duncan is John Jackson, president of William Jessup University, a four-year private university with on-site housing and an enrollment of around 1,700 students. “I think there’s a huge demand, not just for higher education, but the ability to connect your educational work with a vocation. The marketplace continues to rapidly change, and we need both higher education and jobs to retain people in our community.”
County supervisors have approved the project, but Perez estimates that it will be “a handful of years” before construction for the satellite campus breaks ground.