New veterans center will offer more resources and services for veterans

Miranda Defoor, Web & Social Media Editor

A digital rendering of the future Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.


Bakersfield College’s current veteran resource center is getting an overhaul thanks to new funding and growth. The BC Vet Center construction began this semester with the demolition of the previous building and promise of a new place for BC’s veteran students. The construction’s expected completion is Fall 2019.

The new veteran center will be named after a local veteran, Vernon Valenzuela. Valenzuela started the Veteran’s club at BC when he was a student, only after returning from Vietnam and finishing his high school career first. Later in life, after education at both BC and Cal State University Bakersfield, Valenzuela received a master’s degree in counseling and spent most of his professional career, and at least four decades of his life, working with Kern County veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Valenzuela was said to have helped thousands of veterans in his life and career, started the veteran’s center at BC, and dedicated years to advocacy, according to BC’s Veteran Services Faculty Lead, Paul Beckworth.

Beckworth was the one to propose naming the new veteran center after Valenzuela, because of his impact on veterans and BC. Beckworth had to present a formal request to the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees on Oct. 11 and received a unanimous yes to his proposal – leading to the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

BC will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the center on Nov. 5.

New services and resources for the over 700 veterans enrolled at BC include a veteran’s lounge, a study area, computers, and revolving office that will offer other varying services from other schools to mental health resources. Beckworth hopes having help with GI bill funding, an advisor, and a full-time staff member will help the veterans center be “a stand-alone, one stop shop.”