Santa Monica College Starts Spending AA Money

This semester Santa Monica College started spending the $295 million allotted from Measure AA. The plan for building and expanding the already sizeable main and satellite campuses will continue amidst the economic recession.

As SMC prepares to renovate the dilapidated bleachers in its gymnasium, that homes both the school's basketball and volleyball teams, this summer, it plans on continuing the expansions by constructing a set of buildings by 2013.

"A couple of projects are in planning to be done in a few years from now by the Measure AA bond [that just passed]," Said SMC's Director of Facilities Planning, Greg Brown.
"The only other project that's in planning right now is the Media and Technology Building at the Academy of Entertainment Technology that should be completed by 2013."

Along with the planning of the new Media and Technology building at the AET campus, which will cost $36 million, is the upcoming construction of the soon-to-be Student Services building that is set for completion by 2013.

So far, the school plans on doing a set of phases for its construction of the Student Services building. The first phase of this $80 million construction project will consist of demolishing and excavating the grounds. During this process, contractors have put up permanent fences while repositioning utilities in the area and testing/getting rid of asbestos in the air.

According to Brown, contractors will continue onto the next phase of the construction starting this week, demolishing the area around the Pico Blvd. entrance starting with the Amphitheater and all other concrete structures surrounding it. Although he admits the process can be "noisy at times" and the contractors are using "dust control measures at all times," this will only entail the demolishing and excavating factors as the actual construction of the building is set to take place sometime around the 2010 Spring semester.

When asked if SMC has anymore plans of constructing and expanding its campus, Brown said: "We do have several other projects that we want to do from the bond's [money] but they have not been kicked off any of the planning so far, but, as of now, the only project in construction is the Student Services building on Pico Blvd."

The project plans Brown alludes to include a new Health and P.E. Fitness building, an expansion of the Science building that will house the additional science in mathematics needed for its students and a second building planned to expand the Bundy campus, which will be called The Career Advancement

One thing Brown didn't mention was the fact that all these plans and construction are taking place amidst the current economic crisis, everyone has to face. "I don't think it's right," said David Suissa, Anthropology major at SMC. "If anything they should fix the parking issue we have here by reconstructing the parking lots, not construct more buildings we don't need."

Time can only tell if all the construction
will prove beneficial to the school's plan
of giving a much-needed face-lift to the
campus. For now, the school has sent messages to its faculty, warning them of
the future inconvenience to their classes
and reassurances that all will be dealt
with in the most efficient manner.