Inside SMC's New Malibu Campus
After years of delays, the city of Malibu has approved the construction of a state-of-the-art SMC satellite campus. Construction is set to begin in August 2018 and will bring a variety of classes as well as new sheriff substation to Malibu.
Written by Isabella Breda
A project years in the making is finally underway. Construction of the Santa Monica College Malibu satellite campus is expected to commence in August, with an expected completion date in the fall of 2020. Santa Monica and Malibu voters passed the bond Measure S to fund the construction back in 2004, allocating $25 million for the Malibu campus.
The campus will be nestled in the three-acre lot across from Legacy Park, within the Civic Center Complex. There is currently a decommissioned sheriff’s station sitting on this property that will be replaced with a 27,500 square foot state-of-the-art educational center. The building will comprise six classrooms, as well as a computer lab and music/lecture hall that can accommodate 210 students. It will also house administrative offices. There will also be community facilities including a joint sheriff sub-station, and multipurpose community room that can be converted into an emergency operations center. An interpretive center to be paired with Legacy Park programs has also been proposed. The Malibu Community Labor Exchange will be relocated onto another spot on the site, and the accommodations for the Malibu Farmers Market are still being worked out.
The landscape design by Quatro Design Group emphasizes the stunning views of the hills to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The design is environmentally conscious and is said to be a model for future Malibu developments, with landscaping to include permeable plants and soils, including native succulents to mitigate storm water in the winter. Not only is the landscaping going to be environmentally forward, it will be recreationally functional for both students and community members with scattered benches for lounging and an amphitheater to accommodate large outdoor events.
Santa Monica College is eager to commence construction on the project as SMC Executive Vice-President Elaine Polachek, as well as many other SMC, LA County and Malibu leaders have worked hard on getting the multifaceted project off the ground. Santa Monica College has been California’s #1 transfer college to the University of California system for 27 years straight. SMC is also the leader in transfers to the University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount University. As one of the most affordable options for a high-quality undergraduate education (costing just $46 per unit), it has played an integral role in creating opportunity for those from various socio-economic statues, including refugees as well as first year college students. Its growth from 129 students in its opening year of 1929 to now 33,000 students was one of the reasons to expand its campus to Malibu. The new Malibu campus is slated to offer courses ranging from computer to physical sciences, as well as emeritus and community education courses for professionals and older adults.
The campus will provide an exceptional yet affordable college education to locals as well as invite a host of community events. The construction of the sheriff’s substation and interpretive learning center will also be beneficial in improving safety, and providing community space. The substation is a huge leap for Malibu, as the Lost Hills sheriffs who serve the community have been working out of the Calabasas location since the Malibu station was decommissioned in the 1990’s. This move has the potential to improve law enforcement response time and heighten community safety. Furthermore, the interpretive learning center adjunct to Legacy Park and will serve as an outstanding educational and cultural supplement. MM