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College Board Places $295 million Bond Measure on November Ballot

By Jorge Casuso

July 8 -- Touting it as a boon for both students and the community, the Santa Monica College Board unanimously voted Monday to place a $295 million bond on the November ballot to replace outdated facilities.

The bond – which would cost the average Santa Monica and Malibu renter $1.12 a month and the average homeowner $7.34 a month -- would fund modernization projects on the half-century-old main campus and its satellite facilities.

The new projects would include new state-of-the-art math and science buildings on the main campus, and a new media and technology complex and a job training building on two of SMC’s satellite campuses. The bond also would fund the replacement of 60-year-old Corsair Stadium.

“It’s going to be a tremendously good investment for the community,” said Board member David Finkel. “I think it’s a great deal for the community that surrounds it. I see it as a win win.”

“We need to continue to invest in first-class facilities if we want to continue to be a first-class institution,” said Board member Louise Jaffe.

“It’s not just really just about our students,” Board member Nancy Greenstein said. “We’re a college town, and Santa Monica College is our college.”

The bond measure would be used to replace deteriorating buildings and construct and equip math and science laboratories that are woefully out of date, staff told the board. The upgrades would help improve student training in science, technology, media, communications, computers and emerging high-tech fields.

“Classes and labs are not equipped with adequate technology,” said Don Girard, the college’s senior director of government relations. “We can’t squeeze another class session into our current (science) facility.”

Bond money would bankroll the following new facilities:

  • A new math building that would replace a temporary facility that, according to college officials, “is nearing the end of its life cycle and lacks the infrastructure to support modern classroom technology;”
  • A science facility that would house the earth, life and physical science programs currently operating in small classrooms scattered around the main campus;
  • A new Media and Technology complex at the college’s Academy and Entertainment satellite campus that would also house KCRW, SMC’s renowned public radio station, and
  • A new career opportunity and job training building on the Bundy campus.

In addition to replacing Corsair Field, which is a popular exercising venue for local residents, the bond would improve the college’s Pico Boulevard entrance, adding a new bus pull out and shelter, as well as landscaping.

The new entrance will connect the college to the City’s poorest and most diverse neighborhood, officials said.

“The streetscape on Pico I always though was discourteous,” Greenstein said. “This allows us to make a real entrance to the college.

“It faces the Pico Neighborhood saying, ‘We welcome you,’” she said. “That’s a real important message.”

The bond also would bankroll efforts to achieve energy savings and complete earthquake repairs with citizens’ oversight, annual performance and financial audits, according to college officials. None of the money would be used for administration.

According to staff, the College has already secured state funding for the Replacement Math and Science Building, and has identified other projects that could be eligible for additional state funding.

 

“It’s going to be a tremendously good investment for the community.” David Finkel

 

“Classes and labs are not equipped with adequate technology.” Don Girard

 

The new entrance "faces the Pico Neighborhood saying, ‘We welcome you.'" Nancy Greenstein

 

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