MiraCosta College is planning a $53.4 million construction project on its Oceanside campus to create an academic hub for its communications program and expand services for historically marginalized groups.
The project will include space for the college’s Academic Success and Equality (ASE) programs that represent groups such as the Black Resource Center, La Raza, PUENTE, UPRISE and LGBTQIA+.
Still in the design phase, the project entails renovating an existing 23,000-square-foot building and an existing 5,400-square-foot building and razing and replacing four other aging buildings that date back to the 1960s when MiraCosta opened, said Megan Evenary, project manager for Kitchell, the firm overseeing the project.
About 8,000 square feet of the larger building is being renovated, along with all of the smaller building.
“They’re not going to be completely redone. It’s just that the interiors will be renovated,” said Wendy Stewart, interim assist vice president and chief inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility officer at MiraCosta.
A new single-story building of 30,000 square feet is planned to replace those that are demolished, Evenary said.
“We’re basically taking out the originals to the campus and we’re replacing them with a much more modern building that is going to have active solar and natural ventilation,” Evenary said, adding that the two renovated buildings and the new one will be clustered around a courtyard with room for food trucks, special events such as movie nights, and a gathering spot for students.
Construction on the project is scheduled to start in the fall of 2024, pending approval from the Division of the State Architect.
Gensler is the architect, and Gensler is working closely with student and faculty representatives in designing the project.
Each of the individual spaces will have a different look as part of the college’s Social Justice and Equity Centers and is meant to reflect the student group it will serve.
“We really have ensured that our students have a strong voice in this process,” Stewart said. “We don’t just want to design these centers ourselves. We want to hear from students who will be served, what do you want in these centers, what colors do you want to see in there?”
Each center will have a different look, depending on the background of the students who use them.
“One thing we have heard very loud and clear from our students is that they would like their culture depicted,” Stewart said.
Among student suggestions already incorporated into the designs are to include drought tolerant landscaping to reduce water used for irrigation and to have large sliding doors to create indoor/outdoor connections.
To that end, a wall on one of the existing buildings will open to the outside, Stewart said.
The new building, a communications hub for students interested in exploring communications as a career, will include nine new classrooms, an honors lounge, 36 offices, and spaces for student study and support services, Evenary said.
The work also will include new walkways that comply with the Americans with Disability Act requirements, a sunrise and sunset plaza, a porch between the two renovated buildings, and gathering space between the renovated buildings and the new building.
The latest projects are among 33 paid for with $455 million raised through a bond measure, Measure MM, approved by voters in 2016. The projects are primarily aimed at providing room for the college’s Academic Success and Equity (ASE) programs.
“Our values are grounded in community, diversity, inclusiveness, and social justice.’ It’s our responsibility to meet students where they are,” Stewart said.
Stewart said that students from certain groups are less likely to transfer to a four-year college than the overall student population at MiraCosta, and that the ASE programs are aimed at addressing the disparity.
“First generation students are less likely to transfer because they haven’t been exposed to college and more black and Hispanic students are less likely to transfer,” Stewart said. “The centers are designed to communicate to students that your culture is important to us, to provide student support services and advisers so students stay on track.”
Among other things, the centers expose students to careers they may not have considered and give them a reason to continue their education, Stewart said.
President: Sunita Cooke
Business: community college
Notable: MiraCosta began in a wing at Oceanside High School