Campus construction to begin again

Around various Santa Monica College campuses, large areas guarded by long gates and matching tarps hide construction sites left unfinished, not started or incomplete. These unfulfilled projects are part of a college redevelopment plan dating back to 1998, called the Master Plan. In it, college officials outline reconstruction slated to occur on and around campus.

In 2008, Santa Monica College was a granted a $245 million bond for the building of infrastructure. The bond, Measure AA, also called the Santa Monica-Malibu bond, has been responsible for much of the construction at the college and its satellites.

According to a 2009 Board of Trustees agenda, the bond was given in 2008, but no projects were planned until the following year.

Most of the renovations happening under this bond are part of the Master Plan, which was updated and revised in 2010 to accommodate the bond, among other issues, according to a draft of the 2010 Master Plan.

Completion was estimated eight to 10 years after the planned construction in 2009, which makes 2013 approximately the halfway point.

Robert Isomoto, vice president of business administration, said plan implementation will take place for the next five years.

He said the plans include relocating the changes to the pipes, adding an east wing to the Performing Arts Center, and the ongoing renovation of the Academy of Entertainment and Technology campus.

But many projects have been sitting idle for months, even years, without anything happening.

The gated-off area on Pico Boulevard, next to the Admissions Office, is slated to become the Students Services Building. According to Isomoto, construction will begin in about two months, and will take approximately two years to finish.

And for months, the space where the bicycle racks now stand was nothing but a dirt patch. Isomoto explained how part of the bond went into the project, which cost $600,000.

Other projects included in the plan are modernizing Drescher Hall, building a new gymnasium, the creation of a new amphitheater that has been under construction on Pico Boulevard and 20th Street since 2009, and renovating the Math Complex.

"The rebuilding of the Math Complex is a project that is planned to be down the road," Isomoto said. "But eventually we will add to the Science Building, making it the Math and Science Building." According to an interview conducted in 2009 with Greg Brown, director of facilities planning, part of the money from the bond will go to the Academy of Entertainment and Technology satellite campus, costing about $36 million to pay for all the necessary fees.

AET will be closing over spring break for its complete reconstruction. The campus will be more technology-oriented and have a larger parking structure.

Isomoto mentioned that the AET campus will be gaining a building especially for the KCRW radio station.

The reconstruction will require the demolition of the Liberal Arts Building, the Letters and Science Building, the Library Village, the Physical Education Building, and others, according to the 2010 update draft.