State, voters to decide future of media building

Evan Parker

The proposed School of Media Arts complex has moved one step closer to reality, but the dance is all in Sacramento.

The state Assembly is set to vote later this month on one of two competing bills that would put a bond measure to fund the new building before voters.

If the Assembly does pass a bill and the governor signs it, the bond could appear before voters in June.

“(What) it means (is) this is something we intend to build,” said Jack Friedlander, executive vice-president of Educational Programs.

Friedlander said the state has budgeted $28 million for construction of the building.

SoMA, which stands for School of Media Arts, has been designed exclusively to accommodate existing on-campus College programs that are currently operating with insufficient classrooms and laboratories, due to space limitations and outdated facilities.

The College has already drawn up what are called “working drawings,” for the SoMA building.

These are inch-by-inch architectural and engineering plans for the construction and development of the building.

The state legislature must decide between two assembly bills: AB 1836 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher, a libertarian from Temecula, and is for the amount of $5.4 billion. And AB 58, sponsored by Fabian Núñez, which allocates $9.387 billion for the kindergarten through university public education. AB 58 does not allocate a specific amount to the California Community Colleges.

“The school is pushing for the measures to pass,” Friedlander said. He added that if the state legislature gets the bill to the governor soon enough, the measures could be signed and approved for the June ballot.

“This means you either cut back the project, or raise additional funds,” Friedlander said.

City College raises more funds privately than any other public Community College in the country, from its own Foundation, the community, supporters of the College, and local businesses, he said.

If the 36,000 square-foot structure is constructed, it will house the existing multimedia arts and technology, computer labs, East Campus classrooms, communications, film studies, graphic art design, journalism, and occupational education.

Plans also include offices, labs, conference rooms, gallery space, and a faculty resource center.

For more information on the SoMA building, visit its website at soma.sbcc.edu.