Photo lab to relocate

Aaron Stein-Chester

A move for Saddleback’s Photography lab is in the works out of its current location in the old Student Administration (SA) building.

Photography department chair Ron Leighton said the current plan is to bring in a customized temporary building designed with special plumbing and electrical arrangements. “The new photography building will be 300 square feet larger than our current facility,” he said. “The extra space will most likely be used in the darkroom, check-out room and storage.”

The new lab is expected to be in an as-yet-undetermined spot in The Village Quad. No timetable has been set either, but speculation on the part of officials has the move going through at the end of the spring semester.

“The cost of the suggested modular building is approximately $400,000,” said Saddleback College president Richard McCullough. “No decisions have been made, and this is only one of the options available.”

Associate Director of Facilities Planning Walter Rice, who oversees the construction of new facilities at Saddleback and throughout the South Orange Community College District, echoed McCullough’s disinclination to commit to any specific time table at this point.

“We have a very cautious, structured process when it comes to building projects,” Rice said. “We’re in the earliest preliminary earliest preliminary stages and considering our options at this time.”

The SA building is to be demolished in order to open up Saddleback’s central quad as part of a larger renovation project. According to McCullough, once finished, the new lab would a profitable investment for the college.

The Photography department produces about 40-50 full time enrolled students (FTES) per year.

Assuming that each of these students, worth a maximum allotted dollar value per FTES student, $4,564.83, could potentially generate over $200,000 per year, effectively paying for the new facility in two years. Though the department looks forward to settling in a larger facility, the old lab has served the department well.

“Our current facility is very clean, efficient, and conducive to learning,” Leighton said. “The new facility will be a great improvement after 25 years in a temporary, but solid, building.”

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