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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information
(310) 434-4209
DATE: Sept. 03, 2003

Earthquake Replacement Project Set to Begin Construction in Spring

(Digital image available on request.)
The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a new Liberal Arts Building to replace the current structure that was heavily damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Construction of the $18.96 million project – which will be done in two phases – is expected to begin next spring. Completion of the first phase is expected in fall 2005.

“This is an exciting development in SMC’s ongoing effort to recover fully from the devastating earthquake and to modernize the campus,” said SMC President Dr. Piedad F. Robertson.

The new 53,000-square-foot complex has been designed as two units – each with three stories and basement – that will be connected with pedestrian bridges and walkways. To be located just north of Parking Structure C in a central location, the project – whose contemporary design features the use of Roman brick, painted metal, white concrete and glass – will face onto a campus quad.

The first of the two phases will have nine classrooms and faculty offices and the second will have 13 classrooms, faculty offices and lab and tutoring space. Each classroom will be wired for computer and Internet access. The complex will house the history, social science and psychology departments.

Construction of the second phase is scheduled to begin in fall 2004, with completion in 2006.

The current Liberal Arts Building, constructed in 1952, was heavily damaged in the 1994 quake, and college officials say repairs have not satisfactorily restored the structural and seismic strength of the building. The building will be demolished when the new Liberal Arts complex is completed.

Project design is by Renzo Zecchetto Architects of Santa Monica, a renowned architectural firm whose current projects include the Nativity Parish School in Rancho Santa Fe and the Lux Art Museum in Encinitas. The project architect is the Santa Monica office of Gensler, an award-winning international design, architecture and planning company that has done major projects and buildings throughout the world.

Funding for the Liberal Arts Building has come from four sources: City of Santa Monica Earthquake Redevelopment Project funds ($10.2 million), Federal Emergency Management Agency ($3.08 million), the state ($4.46 million), and Measure U, the 2002 Santa Monica-Malibu bond measure ($1.22 million).

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