College of San Mateo centerpiece opens amid state cuts 

After nearly two years of construction crews and crumbled concrete, the College of San Mateo expects its $91 million multi-services center to be fully functional by next semester.

The school’s bookstore is open and operating inside the four-story, 140,000-square-foot College Center, but most student services plan to move in this week while administration staff will make the move next month, said Valerie Anderson, CSM spokesperson.

The building, which is having its formal ribbon cutting today, will also house the college’s Digital Media Program, which encompasses the school’s journalism program, among others. Those programs won’t make the move until summer, however, Anderson said.

Two buildings that were built in the early 1960’s were taken down to make room for the colossal project.

The multi-services building is the college’s latest addition. Since 2006, the school has added a new science building, a planetarium and an 88,000-square-foot health and wellness building, all paid for by bonds approved by voters in 2001 and 2005.

Though the building’s funding is independent from CSM’s operating budget, the College Center makes its debut amidst massive proposed state-wide community college cuts. The San Mateo County Community College District’s unrestricted general fund in 2008-09 was $116 million, according to Kathy Blackwood, the district’s chief financial officer. The district’s budget dropped to $112 million in 2010.

Blackwood’s current projections show a budget somewhere under $108 million for the next fiscal year, which would at least mean a $6 million cut factoring in utilities.

“We’re doing everything we can,” Blackwood said. “But I only have so much control.”

College Center totals

Cost (construction, design, architects, etc): $91 million
Workers: 200
Time: 2 years
Size: 4 stories, 140,000 square feet

Located in the College Center:
- Student services (counseling, transfer and career)
- Admissions, financial aid, EOPS
- Integrated Learning Center
- Digital Media Program (journalism, broadcasting, web and graphic design)
- Bookstore
- Cafeteria
- Creative Arts/Social Sciences Division
- Administrative Offices

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