By Augustine Ugalde
As East Los Angeles College marches along into its second decade of continuous construction projects, people seem divided on the changing image of the school.
The endless construction has frustrated many Elans throughout the last decade with detours, parking problems and building access, just to name three.
The completion of the F7 building, near the center of campus, has allowed much freer access through campus than students have had in some time, but it is only a brief respite.
There is more demolition and construction on the horizon and it seems as though the construction will continue for at least five or six more years. The look of the campus has changed for the better to a great extent as anyone traveling along Avenida Cesar Chavez could attest to.
This page recently argued that the school has lost its soul because of the construction. It was said that too much of the history and ambiance of the historic college is now lost, never to return.
I, for one, do not agree. This is progress and what is wrong with that?
Merriam-Webster defines progress as “to develop to a higher, better or a more advanced degree.” This is exactly what is happening to ELAC. It is being developed into a higher, better and a more advanced degree.
The flat-earthers that want to stifle the school’s progress in the name of preservation are not looking at the big picture. They would argue that much of the school’s character has changed with the demolition of some of the buildings and landmarks, and this may be true to a point.
At the same time though, these structures have been replaced with modern, efficient buildings that will serve students, administrators, staff and faculty to a much better degree. I can now bring visitors onto the school’s grounds, or pass by on Cesar Chavez, with a little bit of pride at what has been accomplished at ELAC.
The Performing and Fine Arts facility is a gem of a complex. What fine arts student would not feel pride in learning or plying their trade in such a beautiful, modern building?
The E1 complex and G1 Administration building are state-of-the-art facilities that have replaced dated, inefficient eye-sores that looked as though they were one missing brick away from being condemned. The front of the school is beautiful and will get even more aesthetically pleasing once the Helen Miller Bailey Library renovation is complete.
Yes, the tennis courts are gone and the baseball field is being used as a parking lot and yes, there have been problems with some of the buildings, but this is commonplace and it is a small price to pay for progress.
The new parking structure, transit center and Performing and Fine Arts building are so much better than the old parking lot and the World War II-era surplus “K” buildings that occupied that space in the past.
The baseball team will get their field back, the tennis courts will reappear someday and when the construction is finally over, the school will rival any community college in the district. The school will develop a new character and identity that will carry future students well into this century and beyond.
It is time to look forward, not to the past.