Liberal Arts Under Construction

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held for Santa Monica College's new Liberal Arts Complex at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7. Located on the main campus, the complex will replace the current Liberal Arts building that was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
While the current Liberal Arts building is located nearby the Pearl St. side of SMC's main campus, the new complex will be located closer to Pico Blvd. The new location, just north of Parking Structure C and west of Drescher Hall, will feature a new "central quad" facing the new Main Stage theater complex. The $13 million theater complex's steel framing was completed this past month.
The new location for the Liberal Arts building and new quad are part of the campus' master plan to move more activity on campus towards Pico and keep traffic and noise away from Pearl. It has not been planned to remove the old quad near the cafeteria that contains the Clocktower monument.
Santa Monica-based Renzo Zecchetto Architects created the design for the complex. Zecchetto is the same company that helped design the master plan for the campus, and is also the designer for the performing arts complex for SMC's Madison campus. The architect that will execute the design is the internationally renowned Gensler Company. Pinner Construction will build the complex.
With the groundbreaking on the first phase of the new complex, SMC will have two construction projects on its main campus working simultaneously. While the new Liberal Arts complex will be constructed by Pinner Construction, the Turner Construction company will still build the new Main Stage complex, which will house the Theater Arts department right across the way. The theater complex's architect is Leo A. Daly, one of the world's largest architecture firms.
When asked about the logistics of having two separate construction companies answering to two different firms in adjacent locations on the same campus, Greg Brown, SMC's director of facilities planning, said, "We're working on it."
The $26.6 million Liberal Arts complex will house the college's history, social sciences and psychology departments in 53,000 square feet of space. The space will be divided into two three-story buildings with basement levels. A pedestrian bridge and walkways will connect the buildings, which will be wired for computer and Internet access.
The construction will also be divided into phases. The first phase will be the building housing faculty offices and nine classrooms. The second phase will house 13 more classrooms, more faculty offices, and laboratory and tutoring spaces. Completion of the construction is expected in April 2007.
According to a press release by the college, funding for the complex comes from the City of Santa Monica Earthquake Redevelopment Project funds ($10.2 million), the Federal Emergency Management Agency ($3.08 million), the state ($4.4 million) and Measure U, the 2002 Santa Monica-Malibu bond measure ($8.9 million).
For further information about the groundbreaking, call (310) 434-4100.