Temporary Path Cleared for Campus Opening
By Ann K. Williams
June 17 -- When Santa Monica College’s new Airport Campus opens on July 5, students will be able to park at the college shuttle lot and walk to classes, after a temporary one-time access agreement was approved by the City Council Tuesday night.
The college now has to prepare the path from the shuttle lot to the campus, which will be located in a four-story building near Bundy and Airport avenues.
In practice, this will mean some minor repairs and upgrading, work the college is confident they can finish quickly, said Don Girard, executive assistant to the president of the college.
A few hundred feet south of the shuttle lot, work on and around the newly renovated building is being completed at a feverish pace.
“We’ve been here every day for the past two weeks, ten hours a day, Saturdays and Sundays,” said Chris Cordova, a member of Local 1247 who has been putting in floors and stair treads.
He was excited about opening day, adding “Hopefully, we won’t be working on that day.”
But some construction workers might be.
Finishing touches on the landscaping and grading may still continue after the school opens, so the lots surrounding the building will not be available for student parking, Girard said.
Together, these lots hold more than 600 spaces, college officials said. The shuttle lot, which will be used by Airport Campus students this summer, holds 306 spaces.
About 220 students will be on campus at any one time this summer, Girard said. In the fall, the number will increase as more programs move onto the site.
Parking and access issues have been a major bone of contention between the City, the college and neighbors of the airport, and they remain unresolved by the temporary agreement.
“We’re working on how we’ll transition to fall and how we’ll transition in the future,” Girard said.
The City staff report accompanying Tuesday’s council agenda referred to several of these issues.
The college will have to move their shuttle service off of the City-owned site in November, when the City begins work on a park there. If the college wants to continue its shuttle service, it may have to find or create parking spaces elsewhere.
Last November, the airport commission asked the college to prepare a master plan for development that would include traffic analysis and take into account the concerns of airport neighbors.
Until the plan is completed, the commission opposes access by Airport Road, which runs through the airport, City officials said.
The council was “adamant” that the college finish and present the master
plan before reaching any “long-term decisions,” according to the City’s
summary of Tuesday’s meeting.
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