By Abraham Jauregui
Walking through the hallways of South Gate Educational Center, East Los Angeles College’s satellite campus, stepchild comes to mind.
This 50,000 square-foot facility needs to be revamped to match the overwhelming expansion occurring at the main campus.
South Gate campus is a second-rate facility to our main campus in Monterrey Park, with only 24 classrooms, a research library for English and math tutoring, a small bookstore and a computer lab.
There is no choice but to expand and upgrade the services with the profound number of students attending South Gate campus from, not only the city of South Gate, but Huntington Park, Lynwood, Bell and numerous other surrounding cities as well.
Many students attend the South Gate campus because of its convenient location to their homes.
Rudy Villa, a first year engineering major who lives in the city of South Gate, has transitioned from the University of California, Irvine to ELAC, mainly attending the South Gate campus.
Villa, age 20, told me he had to leave UCI because of the full classes; he couldn’t afford to keep paying expensive school bills while only enrolled in one or two classes a semester.
Asking him about his transition from UCI to South Gate campus he told me, “Big difference, obviously.
“I feel like I’m in high school.
“The education is great; it is the building that reminds me of my high school.
The only things missing from the building are the lockers.”
Villa reiterated he choose to come to ELAC because of the South Gate campus being so close to his home.
Villa attends both the main campus and South Gate campus.
He noticed a disparity in the campus environment.
“Main campus has tons of open space and fresh air.
“South Gate feels confined.”
South Gate campus might have been a modern facility when it opened its doors in 1997, but after 14 years of accommodating an overpopulated student body, renovation is needed.
There have been two occasions in the last year when at least one class has had to be moved to another classroom because of a leaking roof.
In one classroom particularly, it is difficult to hear the instructor because of the music being played in a dance class next door.
Education at South Gate campus has been great and corresponds with the education at main campus; it is the facility that is subpar.
South Gate, with its one centralized building, has taken its bumps and bruises, but has still held on.
There are plans for expansion for this satellite campus.
The large buildings across Firestone Boulevard, last occupied by the Hon Furniture Company, are in the process of becoming the new South Gate Educational Center.
The proposed site already has 1,301,962 square feet in building surface between both the western and eastern sides.
With everything staying on plan in regards to this project, construction is set to break ground in 2012, and a projected opening in 2016.