The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Felled trees could delay Humanities remodel


Renovations on the Humanities Building may be delayed indefinitely by fallout from a 1993 decision to remove five eucalyptus trees.

In 1975 the trees were said to be located in an “environmentally sensitive area,” according to the California Coastal Commission. In 1993 the college cut down the trees to increase the size of the building’s patio, due to safety concerns.

Nearly 20 years later, City College is now locked in negotiations with the California Coastal Commission.

The issue has come to light as a result of construction of the Humanities Building. The California Coastal Commission is requesting that City College replace the five trees that were removed without permission.

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“We should have asked their permission a long time ago,” said Art Professor Ed Inks. “They have the authority and we have to jump through the hoops they require.”

At Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Superintendent-President Lori Gaskin, called the current negotiations “quite frustrating.”

The Humanities Building Improvements project received final approval in February 2012, and construction began in the summer.

When asked about the timeline for the potential delay, Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services, said that if the project was delayed until January 2013, it would continue on a “day-to-day” schedule.

According Sullivan, the construction delays are due to the “passive-aggressive nature of the Coastal Commission.”

Sullivan said that the latest that school hopes to open the new Humanities Building would be  June 2013, “but it is hard to be optimistic when dealing with the [California Coastal Commission].”

Inks was teaching at the college in 1993 when the trees were removed.

“The [California Coastal Commission] doesn’t understand that eucalyptus trees are not a part of this region, they are not,” says Inks. “We had to make space.”

The Humanities Building was constructed in 1975 and has not been renovated since.  The project is entirely funded by Measure V bonds and reported to cost $12,545,760. While the renovations are taking place instructors have been reassigned to portable classrooms.

The Channels calls to the California Coastal Commission were not returned.


— Morgan Cullen contributed to this story.

Surviving eucalyptus trees surround the Humanities Building construction site.

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