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20 years later, Stone Ed. still touching lives

Northwest Guardian

Published: 01:30PM January 29th, 2015

By the numbers

• 27 classrooms

• 170 seat auditorium

• 10 advisor offices

• 3 advisor conference rooms

• 600 vehicle lighted parking area

• More than 530,000 service members counseled

• More than 10,000 degrees conferred

• More than 43,000 service members tested

• More than 28, Unit and Civilian Classes held

• More than 11,000 BSEP graduates

In the spring of 1993, construction crews broke ground on what would soon become a 62,300-square-foot, $7.1 million education center. In the fall of 1994, construction was completed, and in 1995 the David L. Stone Education Center was officially open for business.

Two decades later, students and staff assembled at the education center on 6242 Colorado Ave. on Lewis Main to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The Stone Education Center administers and coordinates the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Army Continuing Education System. The center offers services in basic skills, college programs, testing, advising services, financial aid, scholarships and other post-secondary support.

There are five on-base colleges offering in-person college courses at both education centers. Those colleges are Pierce College, Central Texas College, Saint Martin’s University, Troy University and Brandman University.

“Stone Ed” was named after Gen. David Lamme Stone, who managed construction of Camp Lewis in 1917 and near the end of a distinguished infantry and quartermaster career, took command of Fort Lewis in 1936.

Current students and alumni spoke during the celebration, including Microsoft Systems Software Academy graduate Michael J. Hoal and Veterans in Piping student Sgt. Mike DeLong.

DeLong said being able to continue his education at the center has “taken a huge stress off my shoulders.”

“I’m basically getting paid while I go to school,” he said.

A special guest at the event was the building’s designer Wade Perrow, who owns a construction company in Gig Harbor.

“They wanted a facility that would be a magnet, where people would really want to come,” Perrow said. “So when you come to the entry that’s why it’s all glass and open to make you feel like you’re invited in — like you’re a part of the education.”

The facility houses 27 classrooms, a bookstore, the Battle Bean Coffee Shop and 10 adviser offices. Since its inception, the education center has provided services more than 530,000 service members who have been awarded more than 10,000 degrees.

“This organization over the last 20 years has touched a lot of lives — about a half a million people — and that is no small task,” said Robin Baker, Armed Forces Education Services officer. “I firmly believe that education changes lives so that is a testament to all the people in this room and all the people who came before you.”

For more information about the services and classes offered at the Stone Education Center, visit lewis-mcchord.army.mil/dhr/ eso/Stone.htm or call 253-967-7174.

Veronica Sandate Craker: veronica.craker@nwguardian.com