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SMC’s Airport Campus Set to Open

By Ann Williams
Special to The Lookout

June 9 -- Santa Monica College’s largest “satellite campus” will open for summer classes on July 5 at the airport, Provost Martin Martinez announced at Monday night’s College Board meeting.

The four-story building at Bundy and Airport avenues will house general education classes including math, history and health for high school students, Martinez said. The classes are fully enrolled and staff and faculty will start moving in on June 15.

Construction crews are still putting “final touches” on the $15 million renovation of the building, part of a complex of buildings the College bought from BAE Systems for $30 million in 2001.

College Board member Margaret Quinones, who lives in the neighborhood, said she has seen trucks leaving the site after 7:30 p.m., the legal limit for construction work in a residential neighborhood.

She urged Martinez to make sure the subcontractors don’t do anything that might give the college a bad name among the neighbors on the campus’ southern border in Mar Vista.

In the fall, the College’s nursing program will move onto the campus and the number of students will increase, Martinez said.

By then, the College expects to provide access to the building from Airport Avenue -- which is controlled by the City of Santa Monica -- in addition to the newly built Bundy entrance, he said.

His optimism was challenged by Bob Fitzpatrick, a Mar Vista resident.

“We were under the understanding that there was going to be a master plan, and that they (the College) do not have access to Airport Avenue,” Fitzgerald said.

“We’re all for it, we’ve all had kids go there, believe me,” Fitzgerald said. “All we want to get is some certainty as to what is going on.”

Bill Scheding, chair of the Transportation Committee for the Mar Vista Community Council, complained of being ignored by the College.

“Where’s the communication with the public in terms of what’s going on with this campus?” Scheding said. “I’ve asked and asked and asked for an open dialogue… and we don’t get it.”

The College is working on a master plan, and has held two “visioning sessions” with community groups, including Scheding’s, said college spokesman Bruce Smith.

“We have bent over backwards to have meetings with Friends of Sunset Park and the Mar Vista Community Council,” Smith said, referring to the neighborhood group that represents Santa Monica residents near the airport.

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