So who’s up for a proposed construction project that could “substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings” and could “create a new source of substantial light or glare would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area” according to the Environmental Impact Report?
Doesn’t sound appealing? Well, you may want to attend the scoping session on Thursday, November 17, 2016, at 6 pm, at the Fullerton College Student Center, Rooms 224, 226 and 228 (don’t ask – I’ll be wandering around campus myself) and let them know.
I should note that this little boondoggle is not the City’s doing, for once. For this we can thank the North Orange County Community College District and their Board of Trustees. The Master Plan Initial Study, which discussed the Environmental Impacts on Section 6.3, can be found here: )
Pictured: Sherbeck Field. Not pictured: Rooms 224-228. Also not pictured: The football stadium that already exists across the street.
Some time ago, the NOCCCD Board of Trustees were considering the idea of building a football stadium on campus, thus sparing their football team the humiliation of playing football at <gasp> a high school stadium – and one that’s less than 100 yards away from the campus proper, to boot. Residents of the Princeton Circle neighborhood objected, and the plans for a football stadium appeared, to the residents at least, to be scrapped. Now the trustees are looking to add 4,500 stadium seats and field lighting that could remain on until 10 pm. In addition, while I have not independently verified this, nearby residents contend that the proposed lighting would consist of six 100 foot tall LED towers, which if true would cause a significant amount of light pollution.
In hindsight, the fact that the College named the field after Hal Sherbeck, a successful football coach from the 1960s to 1991, was probably a good sign that the long term plans for Sherbeck field was always for a full fledged stadium. And sure enough, when the voters approved Measure J by a handful of votes in 2014, the College was flush with over half a billion dollars in bond money ($574 million, to be precise) the stadium moved to the top of the list of infrastructure projects on campus.
Wait, you don’t remember the NOCCCD telling voters they wanted Measure J to build a football stadium? Well that’s because they didn’t. Instead, they promised the money would go for a Veteran’s Center. This was what was promised when the Trustees wanted $574 million in bond money:
Note the part about “planned upgrades of Veterans Resource Centers at Fullerton and Cypress Colleges” (a clearer copy can be found here).
Now that the measure passed, however, these are the construction projects proposed as part of the Facilities Master Plan (see pages 7-8 of the aforementioned report):
• A new Welcome Center at the corner of East Chapman Avenue and North Lemon Street
• Two new instructional buildings, one south of the 1400 building and one south of the
proposed parking on lot on East Chapman Avenue
• New Horticulture and Vocational Sciences Center
• New Child Development Center
• A new 840-space parking structure located west of Sherbeck Field and a pedestrian
bridge from the parking structure to the Classroom Office 1400
• New parking lots north of Berkeley Avenue adjacent to the 3100 building and south of
the Lemon Street parking structure
• Realignment of the campus access to the Centennial Parking Structure
• A new Maintenance and Operations facility located north of the chiller plant, a thermal
storage addition to the south of the chiller plant, and an addition on the east side of the
• New storage, offices, and a small shower/locker room building to the north of the existing pool
• The addition of field lighting and 4,500 stadium seats to Sherbeck Field
• A new Performing Arts complex, sculpture garden, arts plaza, and campus quad, in the
south campus quad at the southeast corner of East Chapman Avenue and North Lemon
Street with renovation of the existing Wilshire Theater
• Renovation of Physical Education 1200 facilities to include a third sand volleyball court
and renovations to Health Services, faculty offices, and the Wellness Center
• Renovation of Math 600, Business 300, Humanities 500, Campus Services 840,
Administration 100, and the Fine Arts Gallery 1000
• Renovation of Academic Computing 3100
• New signage at key entry and exit points of the campus such as the intersection of North Berkeley Avenue and North Lemon Street, along Berkeley Avenue at Lot 5, along
Berkeley Avenue south of Sherbeck Field, along Berkeley Avenue at Lot B-2 East, along
East Chapman Avenue at North Lawrence Avenue, at the intersection of East Chapman
Avenue and North Lemon Street (north and south of the intersection), and along North
Lemon Street at Lot C West
Notice anything missing? Like the word “veteran” followed by the word “center”? I suppose we should be grateful that the Trustees are at least planning on building that Child Development Center they promised the voters – back when they campaigned for the last NOCCCD Bond (Measure X) in 2002.
So the Trustees have plenty of money to build something they never campaigned on but they do not plan to build the very thing they told the voters the entire bond project was for in the first place. The most surprising part about this is how unsurprised I am.
And let’s not forget: the reason the infrastructure at the community colleges is in its current state was that the NOCCCD Trustees were are not allocating sufficient funds to ongoing repair and maintenance. Instead, their budget is inordinately going to the six hundred and sixty two (662!) employees who are making $100,000 a year or more in pay and benefits (see for yourself).
Unfortunately, the ship has sailed on Measure J, but we can at least tell the NOCCCD that the money should be used for what they told the voters it would be – and to finally put their dream of two football fields within walking distance of each other to bed.