Music echoed through the streets. Children laugh. Families line up at booths while vintage cars roar their engines. It is Fiesta Night Friday in Oklahoma City.
Hundreds have gathered to celebrate community and culture on the last Friday of each month. The event began last June, the Aug. 25 celebration was the final of the year.
In the midst of party, Oklahoma City Community College’s new Capitol Hill Center held its grand opening.
“It’s just an amazing thing,” educator Tammy Sagastizado said, “Its economic revitalization, academic, and community.”
The center was originally placed at the Capitol Hill Elementary School. Not long after that it moved to the Latino Community Development Agency, and the Capitol Hill Methodist Church.
The center struggled to find a permanent home.
When the new location was finished, it was emotional for the original staff. “I broke down in tears when I saw it finished,” Sagastizado said.
Alan Dale, OCCC’s Director of the Community Outreach and Education said he is looking forward to the progress that the center will bring for the community.
“We have about 24 classes that are going on right now.” Dale said. “We have four classrooms that will have a class in them on Mondays and Wednesdays and another in the other rooms on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We do that in the morning and we also do that in the evening.”
When the center was housed at the Methodist Church, enrollment was limited. The class sizes held a maximum of fifteen to twenty people. The new location, Dale said, allowed classes to expand.
“Right now, we’re running from about 200-250 people a day for this building.” Dale said, “Compared to where it was last year, it’s a huge difference.”
Dale said he hopes to continue the growth of the new facility, and eventually add more classes.
“We could double that again, giving us another four classrooms. The great thing is, is that we’ve had to close classes before, because we didn’t have the space” he said. “This has opened it up so we have the space in order to meet the needs of the community. The sky’s the limit.”
Once, the center was a good idea moving from location after location, struggling to find a place of its own.
Now the Capitol Hill Center is welcomed among a place of history, tradition and culture unlike any other location inside Oklahoma City.
The future looks bright.