Saddleback College invests millions into renovations, changes, and adding to the campus

New Gateway building being constructed on Saddleback College campus| Kiyyaa Semeret

For the last several months, the two Marguerite Parkway entrances to the Saddleback College campus have been under construction. Although sites have been somewhat of a normal occurrence to students and faculty, very little is known about what exactly these projects encompass. 

“The major work occurring at the Marguerite entrances is a single project, the Saddleback College Landscape Improvements project, Phase 1 and the Gateway Building project,” said Letitia Clark, chief communications officer for the South Orange County Community College District. 

The $8,296,053 projects, which includes $1,070,000 of state-scheduled maintenance funds, was initiated by Saddleback College’s facilities, maintenance, and operations department. The construction was then approved by the College Resource Committee and District Capital Improvement Committee. All architectural design plans were created to meet the district’s sustainability goals as well as update the campus’s landscape. 

“Water usage is reduced by decreasing the amount of open grass areas,” said Clark. “Using native and drought tolerant plants, drip and low flow irrigation, and installing smart irrigation controllers.” 

In addition, the campus will also begin to incorporate stormwater mitigating features to slow the flow of stormwater into the city’s draining system. The project is currently active and will affect the areas of parking lot 13 off of Library Road, near the Fine Arts Circle, and around the Child Development Center. 

While the new storm mitigation features are being added to the campus, there is also a separate construction project underway. The new Gateway building project will allegedly rehouse many of the student services offices and create new study spaces. 

“This project will reduce the need for portable buildings and set the stage for the student services building renovation in a few years as outlined in the Facilities Masters Plan,” said Clark.

“This project will construct a new three-story building of 52,297 ASF, 77,985 GSF and will provide a new, highly integrated space for student services with consolidated and expanded interdisciplinary instructional space,” according to the South Orange County School District.

Each project has a specified contract term that varies in length and can overlap other work scopes. However, the district has adopted the 2020 Facilities Master Plan..“The FMP recommendations present an overall picture of the proposed development that is designed to support Saddleback College’s vision and goals,” said Clark.

Currently, the General Contractor has been awarded the contract for the major projects. The company has subcontracted to other businesses for electrical, paving, tree removal, fencing, and V-gutter scopes, but is self-performing all other duties. 

In addition to the two currently active major projects, several other projects are anticipated to commence sometime later this month. Parking lot 12 and softball expansion, science & math building, and the solar canopy project. 

“The project will downsize and replace the existing Science Math building to meet the educational needs of Saddleback College for Math and Information Technology,” according to the SOCCCD website. “This project will construct a new building of 32,100 ASF and 49,385 GSF.”

The future science and math building will house the computer sciences department, computer cyber security labs, and even broadcasting rooms. As for the other projects, very little information has been released on what these plans are exactly. 

However, the planned phases for the development of the Solar Project is available online

As of right now, it is very clear that many improvements are coming to Saddleback College’s campus in the next few years. With most of the renovations and projects prioritizing sustainability on campus, it will be exciting to see how the campus has changed and grown.