By Jose Cazares
East Los Angeles College has been planning to relocate its South Gate campus since 2003, the new campus is now scheduled to be finished by 2019. A plan to purchase a building was approved in 2003 however the building was later deemed unsuitable.
In 2009, ELAC purchased an 18.5 acre property located across the street from the South Gate campus using Los Angeles Community College District bond funds.
ELAC had considered plans were to retrofit the largest building on the property.
However, it was determined by the LACCD’s board of trustees that such an undertaking would be too expensive.
The facility was intended to accommodate 12,000 students. The project was downsized in 2011 and the facility is now expected to accommodate 9,000 students.
Instead of retrofitting the larger building, ELAC intends to tear down the building located in the back of the property which faces Santa Fe avenue and replace it with a three or four story building.
The project had to undergo a 45-day long public review period before a master plan can be drawn and presented to the LACCD board of trustees for approval.
“The 45 day period is either over or nearing its end,” associate Dean of ELAC Dr. Ryan M. Cornner said.
The project has faced several complications, however both Cornner and Dean of ELAC’s South Gate campus Al Rios seem confident about the new campus being built by 2019.
According to an article published in ELAC Today, a short magazine published by ELAC’s office of the president, construction is expected to begin by 2016. Emphasis is being put on allowing students to complete degree and transfer requirements without relying on classes on the main campus.
The number of classrooms proposed is almost double the amount of rooms at the current campus. The number of classrooms would increase from 17 to 32.
Some of the proposed facilities include labs, computer based classrooms, a large lecture hall and a learning center with a dedicated study area.
A parking structure similar to those on the main campus has also been proposed.
ELAC decided to go with a design-build firm for this project.
This means that the criteria the building needs to meet will be given to a design firm, leaving the design entirely up to them.
Aside from the building that is being torn down three other buildings are on the property which will be left untouched. Rios said that the largest building has been rented out for filming and other purposes which create revenue for the college.
Rios also mentioned the possibility of using the additional buildings to create partnerships with private industry that would make job training available to students.
He also said that a lot of focus is being put on the aesthetics of the new campus.
He explained that a quad area that incorporates nature to provide contrast from the urban surroundings was proposed.
ELAC plans to have an approved master plan by the end of Spring 2014, a design by Fall/Winter 2014, begin construction by Summer/Fall 2016, complete construction by Spring 2019 and start offering classes by Summer 2019.