REGION — Palomar College is celebrating the groundbreaking of its newest location, a satellite campus in Rancho Bernardo, this week.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the 110,000-square-foot Palomar College South Education Center takes place at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Palomar’s south campus has been in the works for nearly seven years when the college purchased the property for $38.3 million in 2010. It was the focus of controversy that led to a lawsuit that was settled last fall.
San Diego sued the community college district in July, a month after the governing board approved the project, challenging the approval and companion environmental impact report for the project located at 11111 Rancho Bernardo Rd., with its driveway just across from Matinal Road and the Westwood neighborhood.
Neighbors voiced concern that students would avoid paying for parking on campus by parking in front of homes in the adjacent neighborhood.
The settlement, approved in October, stipulates that the district will not charge a parking fee during the first two semesters the college is open for classes. The campus is scheduled to open for the spring 2018 semester, eventually serving 2,000 full-time equivalent students.
In addition to the main building, the project has a three-story parking structure, and planned site improvements include completion of a new interior looped road and installation of walkways, landscaping and lighting.
On the building interior, plans include a lobby, classrooms for lecture and laboratory, academic division offices, spaces for student support services, a bookstore and food services, information services, plus a community room.