This July 23rd, the East Valley Water District (EVWD) held the grand opening of the Sterling Natural Resource Center (SNRC).
The $230 million project, which began in 2018, serves various purposes including community space, drought-proof water supply, street improvements and educational training programs.
John Mura, CEO and General Manager of EVWD, is one of the leaders of this project and when speaking at the grand opening, he discussed the SNRC’s mission.
“The Sterling Natural Resource Center’s mission became an effort to make every source a resource,” said Mura.
As part of their efforts to make every source a resource, the EVWD is intent on tapping into local labor.
Their partnership that began in 2020 with San Bernardino Valley College(SBVC) and Indian Springs high school(ISHS) allows them to train and teach local students to become water treatment professionals.
When discussing the partnership with ISHS, Mura touched on how proximity created a natural opportunity.
“This location opened the door to a partnership with Indian Springs high school and the water and resource pathway program.”
With the pathway program, EVWD has provided educational opportunities to students in science, technology, engineering and math(STEM) by training them in the skill of water treatment.
The program allows both ISHS and SBVC students to earn credits for school while gaining career experience.
However, ISHS students may obtain credits for both high school and community college.
While the Pathway program is still relatively new, it’s seeing early success with the announcement of EVWD’s first hire from the program.
“I’m happy to announce we’ll be introducing our first actual employee from this program at our next board meeting,” explained Mura.
In addition to helping teach local students skills in water treatment that may lead to careers, the SNRC also offers ten acres of space for community activities.
The community space is provided by the western building, where community members have access to customer support, outdoor space for picnics and indoor space for community events.
When discussing the center, Mura praised the building itself and the use it has for the community.
“The Sterling Natural Resource Center not only exemplifies a state-of-the-art design but has been created to develop a new space for the community to gather,” said Mura.
When discussing his hopes for the center’s impact on the community Mura said, “We hope this is the foundation for the community to get to know each other.”
The focus of the SNRC is community benefit, and while the center is going to benefit social community activities and help teach local students, it’s also capable of treating up to 8 million gallons of water a day and recharging the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin.
SNRC’s multi-purpose use and focus on community engagement have earned it high praise at water conferences.
Chairman of the Board of Directors for EVWD, Phillip Goodrich, explained some of the praise he’s heard regarding the SNRC.
“This project has been seen at several of these water conferences and it’s been referred to as the most advanced facility of its time,” shared Goodrich.
“One of the reasons it’s thought so highly of is this side of the street(western building),” he added. To check out the SNRC, visit their website eastvalley.org for hours of operation, location and more information.