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North Campus Makes Sense

The arguments in favor of building a branch of San Diego State University in North County are compelling to the point of being simple common sense.

To begin with, SDSU’s main campus is already overcrowded, with 1,000 qualified students being turned away this year. A tiny satellite campus in a San Marcos industrial park is packed, even though its course offerings are very limited.

It’s not news to anyone that the population of San Diego’s North County is among the fastest growing in the state, and southern Riverside County, which would also be served by the campus, is a growth area too. Consultants for SDSU projected that by the year 2000, 150,000 school-age children will be living in the area. By 2010, a four-year institution could have an enrollment as high as 21,000. Add to that the growth in the rest of San Diego County, and it doesn’t take a math scholar to see that SDSU’s main campus is going to be inundated with potential students.

Today there are several sites in North County worth considering for a new campus. The cities of Carlsbad and San Marcos are vying for the university and are willing to work with the California State System to bring the branch to their towns. But a decade or two from now, land costs will be higher, and appropriate large parcels will be harder to come by.

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The California State University trustees have agreed that a North County campus should be built. Next a site must be selected, approval must be won from the California Post-Secondary Education Commission and the state Legislature must appropriate the funds.

State Sen. William Craven (R-Oceanside), who has worked for a branch for nearly two decades, plans to introduce the necessary legislation once a site is chosen.

The Legislature should listen to the recommendation of the trustees and to reason. Years from now, the decision to build the North County branch in the 1980s will look like a real bargain--whether the campus has been built or not.


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