A rendering of the new SMC Malibu campus. Photo courtesy of SMC.

Santa Monica College broke ground on its new Malibu facility last week with a ceremony that acknowledged the educational, arts and public safety benefits the project will bring to the region.

The open, airy, and eco-friendly two-story design, sitting amidst three acres of pristine Malibu land, will include an educational building with dedicated labs for both arts and sciences, two general education classrooms, a 100-seat lecture hall with raked seating suitable for both film and music events, and a multi-purpose physical space for yoga, dance, and various activities.

The design by QDG Architecture fulfills Malibu city’s “dark skies” standards and the new SMC campus will include an interpretive center to support Malibu’s unique culture.

Santa Monica College President Dr. Kathryn E Jeffery, SMC Board of Trustees Chair Barry Snell, Los Angeles County Supervisor Shiela Kuehl, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonald and City of Malibu Mayor Rick Mullen came together to break ground at Legacy Park on September 21 to mark the occasion.

In her speech, Jeffery acknowledged the hard work it took to make the project happen crediting multiple agencies, including the County of Los Angeles, the City of Malibu, and Santa Monica College for collaborating to find creative solutions and to fulfill community

“SMC’s Malibu Campus builds on a legacy of valuable educational services that the college has offered in the past, ranging from art to general education and non-credit offerings,” she said. “We’ve envisioned how that legacy might be further enhanced so that Malibu community members have the best possible learning experience right in their own backyard.”

In October of 2004, the City of Malibu and Santa Monica College entered a Joint Powers Authority agreement to pursue planning for clean water facilities and an educational campus in the city of Malibu. In 2011, the school later partnered with Los Angeles County to provide a site for the new campus that would include a community Sheriff’s substation. The law enforcement office will be the first time in more than 20 years that the City of Malibu will have a police substation within city limits.

SMC contributed $2.5 million for the acquisition of Legacy Park, which serves as a storage site for stormwater and, as part of its responsibilities towards the Authority’s goal of providing clean water facilities for the Malibu Civic Center, SMC also contributed an additional $2.5 million towards brand new, state of the art facilities for the treatment of wastewater.

Sergeant Tui Wright with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office is currently based out of the Lost Hills office and coordinates one of the state’s largest search and rescue teams.

“I think the City of Malibu is a world-class destination and it deserves to have a substation here, as well as all the benefits that come with it, such as an Emergency Operations Center. Now we’ll have the ability to more easily bring in helicopters for Operations Control, Beach Enforcement, and our Search and Rescue teams,” he said.

Wright said proximity will increase safety.

“The ability to have a presence, where people can be able to come to the station and talk to the deputies, to be able to talk to the detectives and follow up on any cases that they might have; It’s convenient for the public that we serve, but it’s also a tactical consideration for us to have that footprint here to respond from, [for us] not to have to travel 22 miles in – when somebody needs you right now, they need you right now – and that’s a hardship for everybody.

SMC Malibu campus construction is expected to be finished in December of 2021 and aims to be opening for classes in 2022.


Shayn Almeida
SMC Corsair / Daily Press Staff Writer

This story was published as part of a partnership between the SMC Corsair student newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *