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LMC in the News

Los Medanos satellite campus gets green light

Written by Rowena Coetsee Contra Costa Times
Posted: 12/08/2010 02:33:03 PM PST

BRENTWOOD -- Los Medanos College's choice for a new satellite campus is a go.

Contra Costa Community College District's governing board recently cleared the way for the project to continue by approving the Brentwood site where the college plans to build a permanent campus as well as giving it permission to buy the property.

For the past nine years the Pittsburg-based community college has been leasing a building that once housed a supermarket in a shopping center at Sand Creek Road and Brentwood Boulevard.

The approximately 20,000-square-foot structure isn't large enough, however, and after two expansions, there's no longer any room left, said LMC President Peter Garcia.

With 2,418 students enrolled ,"we're booking every closet" during the busiest part of the day, he added.

LMC's search for another site led it to open space bounded by the Highway 4 bypass, Marsh Creek Road and Fairview Avenue.

Owned by Brentwood Commercial Partners, the 17 acres are part of Pioneer Square, an almost entirely undeveloped 31-area bordered by Marsh Creek.

The spot is within view of the historic John Marsh House to the west and part of a development project known as Vineyards at Marsh Creek, which includes an active adult community.

The hope is to break ground in mid-2015 on the first phase of the project, which will comprise approximately 42,000 square feet of classrooms and other buildings and will take about two years to complete.

With the completion of the second phase, LMC plans to have an 84,000 square-foot facility.

The community college district's next step is to spend about six months ensuring that there aren't any problems with the property that would prevent its purchase -- a lien on the title, for example, or the discovery of an endangered species of wildlife, said Tim Leong, director of communications and community relations.

During this time the district also will confirm that the information in the Environmental Impact Report it's already produced is still current.

Once that's done, the district will submit documentation justifying the need for a larger campus to both the California Community College Chancellor's Office and California Post Secondary Education Commission for those agencies' approval.

LMC's expectation is that they will designate the new satellite campus as a "center," a designation that will entitle the college to just over $1 million more each year in state funding, Leong said.

The fact that LMC doesn't own its current site is one reason it doesn't qualify for the additional monies.

LMC intends to pay the $4.8 million purchase price with proceeds from a $286.5 million bond measure voters passed in 2006.