Almost 40 years ago today glimmers of a new era were seen at Cuesta College.
Cuesta was founded five years earlier in Camp San Luis in army surplus buildings. Early students had decidedly a low tech classroom experience but the trustees had plans for something better across Chorro Creek.
Earth began to move as a new decade began, documented in this article from October 15, 1970.
Shirtsleeved informality highlights first Cuesta College groundbreaking
By Sue Strandberg
The band played. The flags rippled in a southeast breeze that made it almost too cold to be in shirt sleeves. A group of 250 to 300 people—many in shirtsleeves—were gathered laughing and talking among themselves.
Ten distinguished guests, including one from Sacramento sat in a row on a little platform and watched, squinting into the bright late morning sun.
Fred Righetti, president of Cuesta College trustees, took hold of a pick with a green crepe ribbon on it and whacked at the hard dry adobe ground beside the tennis courts.
The ground hardly broke. He laughed and the crowd laughed and smiled with him.
It was the groundbreaking for Cuesta College’s first permanent building—a $726,000 men’s physical education facility—part of a $12 million campus to be built in the next six to 10 years.
The ceremony, like the college, was informal, unpretentious, with lots of good will and good feelings.
The eighteen-member band wore the uniforms of the 1970 college students, what they happened to have on.
The speeches weren’t polished, but the audience seemed to like the speakers, laughed often and applauded. Everyone seemed to be feeling pretty good about what was happening.
Actually the contractors—Tri Central Construction Co. Fresno had already begun site preparations for the buildings and even before the brief ceremony had ended, the large yellow machines were at work.
The man from Sacramento was Dr. Archie McPherran, assistant chancellor of California Community Colleges. He stood in for Dr. Sidney Brossman the chancellor who canceled out at the last minute.
Dr. McPherran spoke of the importance of junior colleges in meeting the counties’ needs.
College President Merlin Eisenbise said this was a “Very, very happy day” for the five-year-old college.
Righetti echoed his feelings.
“We are going to keep on piling stones on top of each other in an orderly way until the needs of Cuesta are met,” He said, assuring county residents that they would get $1 worth of education for $1 spent.