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Santa Monica College’s Malibu Expansion Moves Forward

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

April 9, 2013 – More than three decades after discontinuing classes in Malibu, Santa Monica College plans to build a nearly three-acre campus in the neighboring beachside city is moving forward.

At a Malibu Public Facilities Authority meeting last Thursday, SMC officials presented preliminary plans for the proposed $25 million two-story project nestled on the County-owned nine-acre Civic Center complex.

Proposed Malibu Campus. Photos courtesy of Santa Monica College

“There's been a lot of effort involved in identifying a suitable site,” said Don Girard, SMC's senior director of Institutional Communications, noting that the process has involved coordinating four agencies: the City, the County, the Sheriff's Department and the College.

The Malibu Campus design includes five classrooms and labs; a multi-purpose community room that will convert into an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for local emergencies; a computer lab; and administrative offices, Girard said.

Funded by Measure S, which was approved by Santa Monica and Malibu voters in 2004, the project also calls for a new Los Angeles County Sheriff's sub-station to replace one currently on the site, accounting for about 5,700 square feet of the 2.94 acre project.

“The campus will accommodate as many as 200 students at any one time,” Girard said. “The design also includes an interpretive center within the building to support Malibu’s Legacy Park or other programs to highlight Malibu’s unique coastal environment and cultural history.”

The site also would include a “flexible art studio,” which Girard described as a “studio space with tables and chairs, some art horses, a model stand, electrical outlets & lighting to support a variety of classes.”

The space would provide a sink and lockable storage cabinets and would open for local art groups to use, for a fee.

The computer lab, as planned, would be capable of supporting 25 computers, Girard said, adding that the proposed “room layout is flexible enough to support formal classes and also community groups and/or activities such as after school programs.”

There would also be an outdoor recreational space, a 100-seat lecture hall and a “multi-purpose physical activity space large enough to accommodate a variety of activities such as yoga, dance, and perhaps a small amount of equipment such as spinning stations,” Girard said.

Girard added that construction on the project could start as early as fall 2014, a decade after voters approved a bond measure -- Measure S -- that set aside $25 million of the $135 million bond for the construction of a Malibu campus.

In 2004, the college entered into a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement with the City of Malibu to form the Malibu Public Facilities Authority, the agency which ultimately has discretion over the allocation of the $25 million set aside by Measure S.

Over time, the State budget crises and limited space led SMC to discontinue its Malibu program, which in the 1970s and early 1980s, offered about 70 general education classes and several non-credit classes in Malibu each semester, college officials said.

The project to bring back the classes is now on a clear path, Girard said.

“We expect to complete the environmental work this year,” he said, referring to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), a State requirement for major construction projects. “We think it's possible to go through the planning process, optimistically, this year.”

As the project moves forward, the plan will have to be approved by Malibu's Planning Commission and City Council, as well as the State Architect, Girard said.

“We're going to be submitting a package in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

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