With the finalization of plans and past issues resolved, the highly anticipated new Los Medanos Campus in Brentwood is estimated to put stakes in the ground in the fall of 2018.
Near the Vineyards Parkway off Marsh Creek Road, project workers announced the official campus address as 1351 Pioneer Square. This location has been in debate for quite a few years, with many Summerset residents concerned about the possibility of increased traffic from the new campus. BART developers were also at war with the location proposition, because they desired a campus closer to the Highway 4 transit station, yet according to Ray Pyle, chief facilities planner for the Contra Costa Community College District, all of the issues have been resolved and the district is excited to move forward with its construction.
The 18-acre site is projected to contain classrooms, computer labs, counseling offices, student services, recreation areas and more, doubling its size by approximately 60 percent of the current Brentwood campus.
With land, labor, construction and planning costs, this new and improved campus is estimated to cost a total of $65 million, funded through capital bonds, as well as the approved Measure A in 2006 and Measure E in 2014.
Since 1989, planning for this LMC extension campus has been underway, and the process itself has been no easy ride. Many Brentwood residents have questioned the reasoning behind the lengthy delay, yet the location, funding and design were not the only things hindering the advancements of the campus. Kevin Horan, vice president of Los Medanos College, explained the complications behind the very long production.
"The state has requirements for the campus," said Horan. "The district only just received center status authorization in 2012. In order to obtain this authorization, we needed an adequate estimate enrollment size, acquired land, design planning and more."
This project could not have come any sooner for many Los Medanos students, as the current Brentwood campus is lacking in some much-needed student resources. Many undergraduates are able to take the majority of their classes at the Brentwood campus, but they are still required to further their education at the Pittsburg site to complete their credits. The current campus also lacks in student recreation areas and the new student site is projected to give students this extra room.
"With the expanded size of the new campus, the type of offerings there will be greatly increased so more students can get their complete associated degree at just the Brentwood center alone," said Pyle. "I think the Brentwood students are certainly going to be much happier with this, because currently they don't have any places in the (Brentwood) building to linger and learn."
With a rapidly growing population in the East Bay area, the current satellite campus in Brentwood simply cannot withstand the growing number of students. This is reflected in the overly crowded parking lot at the strip-mall facility. This year, even more regulations on student parking areas have been instilled, and a new school would not only benefit the students, but also the shoppers who frequent the mall complex.
Current Los Medanos alumni and Enrichment Honors Program Officer Marcelo Clark weighed in on the benefits that students would have.
"I think (the new campus) is definitely worth the money, because the current campus needs to be improved and it needs a better location," said Clark. "I have a night class in Brentwood, and finding parking is extremely hard. I have to park very far away, which is quite inconvenient."
Future Los Medanos College students and Brentwood residents should expect the long-awaited opening of this campus in the spring of 2020.