CALABASAS : Soka University Plans Campus in Orange County

After four frustrating years trying to expand their campus near Calabasas, Soka University administrators on Tuesday announced plans to develop a liberal arts college in Orange County.

The 100-acre campus in the planned community of Aliso Viejo could open as early as 1999 to about 300 undergraduate and graduate students, with an eventual enrollment of about 2,500.

How the new campus would affect the school's scenic property at Las Virgenes Road and Mulholland Highway was unclear Tuesday, but nonetheless sparked intense speculation about Soka's plans and a two-year legal battle over the land.

The university wants to expand its 300-student language school in Calabasas into a 3,400-student liberal arts college. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, however, wants the land for a public park and has won the right to seize part of the 660-acre property through eminent domain.

At least for now, Soka spokesman Jeff Ourvan said, plans to expand the Calabasas campus remain on track.

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