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

Campus Center will not be rebuilt, will stand for now


City College’s deteriorating Campus Center will remain standing until further notice, instead of being demolished and rebuilt.

The college is still planning to rebuild the center, but there is no timeline.

“My recommendation is that we reject all bids [to rebuild the center],” said Superintendent-President Dr. Anthony Beebe. “We will do this, but we are going to delay it at this point.”

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reject the bids to rebuild the center at its Thursday meeting.

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The building is considered unsafe, said Chief Budget Officer Joe Sullivan in a recent interview with The Channels. The Campus Center was not up to seismic code and is unstable, he said.

Though Sullivan said the building was unsafe, Beebe said that work has been done to bring the building up to standards. 

Joe Sullivan, College Planning Council Vice President of Business Services, 2015.
Daniel Feldtkeller
Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services, 2015.

Two classrooms have been completely shut down due to water damage. Damaged concrete has been removed, all of the rebar has been polished and sealed, and new concrete has been put around an unstable pillar. The building will continue to be monitored to ensure its safety, he said.

“Although not ideal, we have a building that has function and use in it,” Beebe said. “There isn’t anything that says it is unsafe and we shouldn’t be in the building.”

The overall estimated cost to rebuild the Campus Center is over $31 million, and the lowest bid at more than $7 million above the estimated cost. There are a few different factors that could be driving the estimate cost up, Beebe said.

Santa Barbara’s geographic isolation means that material and labor must be brought in from another area. California also has a robust economy, and bidders can look for higher priced projects because there is so much competition.

City College is cutting the budget because of a loss in funding. The lack of funding is partly because of low enrollment. One of the money-saving tactics is the creation of the early retirement program, which cuts faculty jobs.

“Eighty-five percent of our expenses every year are people, are employees,” said Trustee President Marsha Croninger.

The construction of the building isn’t currently something the budget allows for. Croninger also added that the money that would have to be used is educational money.

“Bond money is normally what is spent for a major facility project,” she said. “So we are taking our educational money that we would normally put to our educational programs, and saying that’s more important. That’s not for me.”

The trustees agree that it would be in City College’s interest to postpone demolition and not to rebuild the center until it can be done properly.

Student Trustee Emily Gribble said that the plan to rebuild the Campus Center is still in the works, which can help put the students’ worries to rest. The Campus Center will remain up and functioning until further notice.

Clarification: Nov. 14, 2016

Context has been added the this version of the article to make the story clearer. 

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