$25 million SMC campus to open in Malibu

Malibu residents taking classes at SMC will soon be able to save the drive all the way to Santa Monica. After more than 30 years, SMC will open its doors in Malibu with a 25,000-square-foot campus. The $25 million project will begin to operate by the end of 2014, according to SMC officials. “The objective is not to take students from the main campus to Malibu,” said Katharine Muller, chair of the Academy of Entertainment & Technology department at SMC, and a part of the team planning the new campus. “The objective is to serve the residents of Malibu, so that they don’t have to come all the way to the main campus.”

The new facility, to be located in Malibu’s Civic Center, will have computer-equipped classrooms, a 100-seat lecture hall that can be used for events, two general education classrooms, and a small interpretive center. The Malibu Sheriff's department will be torn down in order to build the new campus and will be located in the new building. A parking structure holding 194 spaces will be constructed inside the campus.

In the 1970s and early 1980s SMC offered a full program with around 70 general education classes, as well as some non-credit classes, which was shut down due to financial restrictions. However, the college has been offering a few evening classes in Malibu for the last two years at Webster Elementary School in subjects like art, music, geology, and photography. Those classes will be moved to the new campus. Students will also be able to take several other classes during the day.

“We are not planning for this to be a full- service site where students can get every course that they need to get their degree,“ said Muller.

Muller adds that research has been done on what classes students from Malibu are taking at SMC and what seems to be a good fit given the environment of the new campus.

The Legacy Park near the campus construction site, which is used as an outdoor living and learning center to reduce pollution impact and improve water quality, will be available to SMC students as an educational facility.

School officials are still in the planning process, but classes such as marine and environmental science, geography, geology, art, music, film, and other general education classes are under consideration. According to Muller, students will still have to take classes in Santa Monica in order to finish their degree and earn the credits they need to transfer.

“We know that we want to have very high-value class rooms,“ said Donald Girard, vice president of the marketing department, who is responsible for the government relations of the project. “What that means is that we want to have a good science lab, we want to have a good art lab and so forth.“

The planning of the project began in 2004 when Measure S, a bond for specified school improvements, was approved at the District’s election, according to the facility planning of the Board of Trustees. Measure S will fund $25 million for the building of the new campus.

The facility will have a 25-year contract lease with several five-year options to renew; the lease will cost an estimated of $4.4 million in total.

According to Girard, the new campus will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, a Green Building Rating system, to guarantee minimum negative environmental impacts.

In 2008, the SMC Board of Trustees authorized to provide $2.5 million of bond funds to the City of Malibu for the construction of a wastewater facility.

The campus is planned to be environmentally friendly. The project will be going through the process of the California Environmental Quality Act, a statewide policy of environmental protection.

According to Girard, once the act passes the actual building of the facility will start in around ten months.