Construction plans to build a permanent California State University campus here are closer to fruition with the official transfer today of 40 acres of land at Frank Sinatra Drive and Cook Street from the city to the university. The agreement, reached between the city council and officials from Cal State, San Bernardino, which currently operates its Coachella Valley Campus (CVC) on the College of the Desert grounds, helps solidify the university's efforts to raise private funds to build the campus, announced President Albert Karnig. He noted that the university is approximately halfway toward meeting its $9 million goal to erect the first building by September 2001.
"Various individuals and foundations have expressed interest in our plans to grow university programs here and some of our progress has hinged on the official land transfer. This agreement opens several doors for us to attract more support," he said. "Permanent facilities for upper-division and master's degree programs will allow Cal State to expand its offerings. We believe that accessible higher education is going to make the difference between an economy that changes sharply with the seasons and one that is more firmly rooted in strong, locally-educated citizens."
The deed transfer accelerates the university's efforts to build permanent facilities for its desert campus at the new site and permits the establishment of an advisory committee that will "shepherd the building plans for many years to come," stated Peter Wilson, dean of the CVC. The panel, to be known as the University Planning Advisory Committee, will be composed of five members identified by the city, five by the university and one jointly, who will serve as the chair. The committee will be involved in reviewing design plans and specifications of the master plan, among other tasks, Wilson said.
Cal State "is one of the best things to happen in the Coachella Valley in the last 100 years, said Mayor Bob Spiegel. "To get a full, four-year college in the valley is paramount to the success of the valley," he said, adding that the city wants to be in the position to draw businesses to the valley with the promise that employees will have ready access to higher education.
The first building is expected to occupy 28,000-square-feet with classrooms, labs, faculty offices, a bookstore and student union. Currently, CVC is serving more than 800 students in temporary space on the College of the Desert campus and in classrooms at Palm Springs Middle School.
The location of the new campus will be ideal because it is in the middle of the valley and has easy access off of the interstate freeway, Spiegel said. He added that once the initial 40 acres is built out, the university may continue to expand within another 160 acres that the city has set aside at this location.
Karnig stated that the CVC will be the first public university campus center in California built completely with privately raised funds. "Our unique partnership among the city of Palm Desert, The California State University, Cal State, San Bernardino--which is the home campus for CVC--and private individuals, foundations and corporations is a model and one in which I'm very proud to be involved."
The land being transferred to Cal State was not appraised when it was proposed originally for donation to the university by the city in 1994, he said. The Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation and the Joan Dale and R. D. Hubbard Foundation combined have contributed nearly $4.2 million to the capital campaign so far.
Final approval of the land acquisition is pending the Board of Trustees' consent.
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News