North Saddleback Campus
It’s Small, Has No Name, but a New College It Is
By Thomas Fortune
LA Times, Jan. 15, 1979
IRVINE – It will start out the size of a junior high school. And it’s a long way from getting a name of its own.
But students will begin taking classes next Monday at Orange County’s newest community college, known as the north campus of Saddleback College.
College officials say they expect to enroll about 1,500 persons at the outset, many of them taking courses both at the new campus (carved from an orange grove at Irvine Center Drive and Jeffrey Road) and at Saddleback College (14 miles south in Mission Viejo).
For a few years, the new school will be merely a satellite campus. No attendance boundaries will be drawn to separate it from Saddleback College. It will not have its own name or a football team.
But it is planned that eventually the north campus will become a full-fledged community college.
The initial $6.6 million development is on 20 acres. The college district has a five-year option with the Irvine Co. to buy 80 additional acres at $45,000 an acre.
The plan is to develop the campus in 20-acre increments. Each new cluster is to have its own educational them and central architectural focus.
Since passage of Proposition 13, the Saddleback College District has lost the capacity to fund that plan locally. But college officials say they have not abandoned the idea.
“We’re dependent upon the state, the munificence of the Irvine Co., somebody,” [sic] Board president Larry Taylor said late last week. “But I am convinced this is only the beginning of a 100-acre plant. Our board and the people in the area will not allow it not to happen. I’m sure enrollment will justify our planning.”
Only two of the three academic buildings in the first cluster will be ready for the start of classes next Monday. A late start on the science building—held up until the college district could secure state money after passage of Proposition 13—will delay its availability by a couple of months. An administration facility also is behind schedule.
During a press preview last week, the campus was still very much a construction site. The raw buildings were surrounded by mud. A workman was painting a door through which visitors entered.
Campus administrator Ed Hart had his full-time faculty there for introductions—all 11 of them.
Proposition 13 also cut into staffing. But there will be more school here than at first meets the eye.
There will be 85 daytime class offerings, Hart said. Another 50 classes will be given at night on campus, and 25 more classes will be held at affiliated locations—including Tustin and Laguna beach high schools.
The campus has a 150-seat classroom, with curtain and stage, that will be turned over on weekends for community use.
Some who live at the north end of the district will get all their schooling at the new campus. Others may go there two days and three days to Saddleback.
After the first three days of registration, classes already were filling. Continuing students from Saddleback took all the photography slots. Math, spelling and business management courses were popular.
Staff size is going to keep the initial enrollment to about 1,500. But Hart said the first cluster of buildings will accommodate 40 to 45 faculty and up to 4,500 day and night students before bursting at the seams.
The buildings are of brick with mostly flat roofs. A clock tower is the focus of the central plaza. Lots of outside windows are intended to show off a business machines center and a reading and language lab and entice students inside. The buildings feature solar heating.
White chalkboards in the classrooms double as movie screens and also conserve light.
Student services will be handled on an umbilical cord concept. Library books ordered from the Saddleback College library or a student file that a counselor might need will be brought to the campus in a van making a freeway shuttle.
Greater things are ahead, promised District Supt. Robert Lombardi. He said the new campus probably will be one of the last community colleges built in the state and will have an opportunity to do what others should have already done—establish close ties with local industry.
He said chemistry, pharmaceuticals, electronics and computer science are prominently represented in the Irvine Industrial Complex and the college could develop specialties in those fields. He said that if things develop well, the college might even take over some of the industrial training within the plants of local firms.
Memorial Scheduled for Edward A. Hart (LA Times, March 20, 1990)