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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: May 20, 2005


Santa Monica College will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Liberal Arts Building – a $26.6 million complex that replaces a structure that was heavily damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake – at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 7.

Construction of the project is being done in two phases, with completion expected in April 2007. “This building marks an important step in SMC’s ongoing effort to recover fully from the devastating earthquake and to modernize the campus,” said SMC Interim President Dr. Thomas J. Donner.

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.

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, Lux Art Museum in Encinitas and the performing arts complex at SMC’s Madison campus. 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 ($4.4 million), and Measure U, the 2002 Santa Monica-Malibu bond measure ($8.9 million).
For information about the groundbreaking, call (310) 434-4100.

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