Santa Monica College announced in mid-December that it will be completing its 1998 Master Plan by constructing a Student Services Replacement Building, modernizing its bookstore, and improving its frontage along Pico Boulevard.
According to a statement from SMC’s Senior Director of Government Relations and Institutional Communication Don Girard, the Student Services Replacement Building will “become a significant campus destination” because it will “consolidate various Student Services departments currently scattered throughout the campus.” Some of the services that will be housed in the new building are Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, Enrollment Development, Assessment, International Education, Counseling, and Scholarship.
A three-level, subterranean, 500-space parking structure with a parking information station and a passenger drop-off area will also be part of the new building. Girard noted in his statement that real-time electronic parking availability signage are planned along various parking entry points on Pico Boulevard, which “would help reduce traffic delays approaching the campus.” The Big Blue Bus is proposing to consolidate two bus stops along Pico Boulevard into one stop, which will also help to decrease traffic congestion along Pico.
Modernization of SMC’s bookstore will be accomplished by moving it to the ground floor of Drescher Hall after the hall is renovated. The proposed site of the new Student Services Building is adjacent to Drescher Hall and, according to Girard, will “reinforce the new campus gateway” from Pico Boulevard.
The project’s impact on the environment was studied by the College’s consultant, Christopher A. Joseph and Associates Environmental Planning and Research. In the “Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND)” report, the firm states that the project will have environmental impacts that are “potentially significant unless mitigations are incorporated” for the majority of the categories that were studied. These categories include air quality, aesthetics, cultural resources, geology/soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology/water quality, noise, and construction. However, the consultants suggested mitigations for all categories. If these suggestions are implemented, the consultants don’t foresee any significant environmental impacts from the project.
Documents for the project can be found on SMC’s website: smc.edu/facilities_student_services/default.html. The deadline for submitting written comments on the IS/MND is January 16. Comments can be sent to Randy Lawson, Executive Vice President, Business & Administration, SMC, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA, 90405.