The Ventura County Office of Education today marked the completion of the new Mary E. Samples Education Services Center building in Camarillo. The 29,944-square-foot, two-story building at 5250 Adolfo Rd. was finished just over two years after construction began. The building is the new, permanent home of VCOE’s Triton Academy, which serves students with autism in 3rd through 12th grades. It also houses the administrative offices of VCOE’s Special Education Department and has space reserved for what could become a high-tech makerspace lab for middle school students throughout the County.
The building is named after Mary E. Samples, a longtime champion of children with special needs in Ventura County. Before she retired in 2018, Samples served for 14 years as the leader of the Ventura County SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area), the agency that administers special education programs for public school students countywide. That capped a distinguished career spanning nearly four decades in Ventura County public education.
“Seeing this beautiful new building that will serve children with special needs open its doors is a dream come true,” Samples said. “I’m truly humbled that VCOE and the Ventura County Board of Education decided to make me its namesake.” Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth said, “I can think of no one more deserving of this honor than Mary. She spent her career working tirelessly and passionately to improve educational opportunities for all students, and particularly those with special needs.”
Plans to bring students back to class in the new building are temporarily on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Once it’s safe for them to return, students will find state-of-the art classrooms equipped with smart video screens, the latest specialized learning tools for children with autism, and an interactive outdoor play area. A formal dedication and grand opening ceremony for the new building will be held at a future date when conditions allow.
The $15 million in funding for the new building came from Proposition 51, a statewide school facilities bond measure that voters approved in 2016. The Mary Samples Center was built by Oxnard-based Viola Constructors and designed by DC Architects. Additional information, including a time lapse video of the building’s construction, is available at www.vcoe.org/msc.