Center for Media and Design Campus

This Fall marks the first semester Santa Monica College opens its doors to the brand-new Center for Media and Design. When SMC student, Alia Matthews, changed her major and went back to school, she was excited to hear about the brand-new campus that focuses solely on the courses she wants to take. Matthews started her schooling at Sacramento State, where she left with a bachelor’s degree in theater. After several years in the cutthroat business of acting, she decided to go back to school to pursue her other passion, Graphic Design. She is taking three classes at the new CMD campus and one at the Main campus. When comparing the two, Matthews says, " I like CMD better than the Main one; it's more condensed, not as many students walking around." She loves her new teachers and said they have been great so far. She has been learning a lot but it seems like a pretty competitive program, which makes her nervous.

The $110,055,056 project started about ten years ago and was founded by the Bond-Measure AA during the 2008 elections and the KCRW Foundation. The design is by Clive Wilkinson Architects and the infrastructure is 116,000 square feet, including the parking and the new facility for KCRW. The CMD building is a “green facility” with low-emitting materials, indoor air quality, certified wood, low mercury lamps, optimize energy performance, etc.

KCRW, the public radio station currently located on the Main campus, helped raise $48 million for the renovations. KCRW used compact workspaces at the SMC Main Campus for 30 years. This renovation will give KCRW and various media courses taught at SMC, a new place to work and grow. KCRW's new home is scheduled to finish construction in December. According to Emil Zordilla, Assistant Director for Facilities Planning Department at SMC, the new facility includes the renovation of an existing 25,000 square foot building on the northeast corner of campus - where the previous classroom building for Santa Monica Academy of Entertainment Technology took place - and the construction of a new wing, parking structure and facilities for KCRW. Drew Davis, the Production coordinator for the film program, explained that the facility has a full state of the art equipment.

The location of the CMD is strategic as it is surrounded by major media firms and technological start-ups. In the near future, the school will be able to welcome and work with professionals on and off campus. KCRW radio will not be the only one to bring new partnerships. This will lead to great opportunities for the students. Salvador Carrasco, Faculty Lead for Film Production says “Our students will now learn and train in a facility from which they can make a seamless transition to a professional production studio. They will learn how to work with a grid, LED lights, professional editing bays, high-tech broadcasting cameras, and a truly amazing green screen.”

Not all of the Media classes were able to move in this semester. The Broadcasting students still have to wait for next semester to discover the new facilities. Bradley Lemonds, the Broadcast Lab technician explains “We had to have a schedule set early in the Spring semester for the Fall. Film and TV were competing at the same time. We were offering classes at the same time so we couldn't use the same space at the same time. So, in the Spring, we will switch our schedules around.”

Film classes were not alone in relocating, the Design and Journalism classes are designated there too. The Corsair Newsroom also made the move this Fall. They are located on the ground floor with a much bigger newsroom and touchscreen monitors, similar to that of a professional newsroom.

This new building seems to be an inspiration for students. Film Production Major, Nico Lozano seems to agree. Coming out of the green screen room, after his Film 33 class, a class focused on directing short films, Lozano says, “all the equipment looks very nice, it’s inspiring and makes you want to work very hard because you have all this very nice equipment in it. So, you want to show... that the school didn't waste their money on getting all this great equipment.”

Less than three months remain before the grand opening of the Center for Media and Design campus along with the completed KCRW building. The grand opening is scheduled for December 2nd, 2017.