Construction began Thursday afternoon on Orange Coast College’s 95,000-square-foot Language Arts and Social Behavioral Sciences building — the newest addition to the ever-changing campus in Costa Mesa and its second major groundbreaking in the past six months.
“It’s a new, state-of-the-art facility. It really allows for students to engage in learning and have spaces where they can create a community,” said Orange Coast College President Angelica Suarez. "[It’s] a place where our faculty can engage in helping our students thrive and excel. Those are some of the exciting things that happen in a building of learning like this.”
The three-story building will house English, psychology, communications, world languages, journalism, English as a Second Language and economics classes, among others. Along with classrooms, it will include indoor and outdoor labs for geography and anthropology courses, a new newsroom for the student newspaper, the Coast Report, and faculty and administrative offices.
The $68.9-million building is funded principally through Measure M — a Coast Community College District initiative approved by voters in 2012 for facilities rehabilitation and construction — and state bonds.
It is expected to be completed in summer 2021.
The project is one of several undertakings at OCC as part of its Vision 2020 plan, including a planetarium that opened in March, a Student Life building, a College Center, an aquatics center and student housing. The college also recently broke ground on a Professional Mariner Training Center in Newport Beach.
The student housing complex, Student Life building and College Center are expected to be completed next fall and the aquatics center in the summer.
“About half of the enrollment at any given time at Orange Coast College will be in ... two buildings,” said Kevin Ballinger, vice president of instruction. “The new one and [the Math, Business and Computing Center].
“When you think of everything in [literature and language] ... plus all the social sciences ... all of mathematics, business and computing, all right here, going to that parking lot,” Ballinger joked, referring to the Adams Lot at Fairview Road and Adams Avenue. “I recommend you coming that way to campus,” he said, pointing toward the opposite end.