ATTLEBORO - The old dream is a reality and new dreams await.
Bristol Community College opened the doors of its new and long-awaited facility in Attleboro shortly before noon Friday when a raft of school and political officials cut a bright red ribbon signaling the end of one quest and the beginning of a new era for higher education in the city.
BCC President John Sbrega, who was credited with leading a long and intense effort over the last eight years to establish the school permanently in the city, said the realization of that dream will lead to the accomplishment of many others for students who walk through the doors.
"This center is the fulfillment of our dream and is a place where other dreams will come true," he told a crowd of about 200 who attended the ceremony Friday morning.
The new BCC building is in a nearly 50,000 square foot building on Field Road, which runs between Forest Street and Perry Avenue in the heart of the Attleboro Corporate Campus, formerly the Texas Instruments complex.
The second floor of the building is being renovated for Bridgewater State College classes, which will allow BCC students to get a four-year degree without leaving the city.
BSC President Dana Mohler-Faria said the goal is to open that branch in January.
Officials who toured the high-tech classrooms, labs and computer facilities were impressed, but more importantly the school's future students were impressed.
Nathan Malynn, 23, of Foxboro, said he's been looking forward to seeing the new facility, but what he found when he took a tour exceeded his expectations.
"I thought we'd get something like this," he said. "But I didn't think it would be this good. It's a great facility. It's got a good collegiate atmosphere."
Malynn, who takes the MBTA commuter rail from Foxboro to attend classes in the city said the Attleboro campus makes his life as a student much easier.
"If I didn't go here, I'd probably be at Bunker Hill (Community College) or some other school in Boston and that's quite a trek," he said.
For people who have to overcome mobility handicaps, the facility is much appreciated for its accessibility, said Audrey Deavellar of Seekonk.
Deavellar, who needs a wheelchair to get around, said she's eagerly anticipating the start of classes.
"I've been waiting for this for four years," Deavellar said. "I'm looking forward to coming."
Deavellar is seeking a degree in social work, but has been slowed down because the former BCC facility in Attleboro at the old high school was not handicapped accessible.
She credited BCC with helping her get to classes in Fall River, but the trip was long, time consuming and tiring.
Now she's 10 minutes away, and the new building has ramps and elevators.
Deavellar said she still had some issues with access, but was pleased overall.
"For the most part, it's doable," she said.
BCC in Attleboro has a special office to assist students with handicaps of various kinds.
Meanwhile, Nan Tremblay, an Attleboro resident who was among the first to register for courses on Friday, was beaming about the new BCC.
"This is fabulous," she said. "It's been needed for a long, long time."
Tremblay is out of work and signed up for a course to upgrade her skills in Internet Web site development.
But the building has special significance for her.
She said her brother used to work at Texas Instruments and lost his job when the company moved. Now it's being used for a school that could help her find a new job.
The building sparked negative thoughts before, but the new school has changed that.
"It's such a happy, positive thing," Tremblay said.