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College of the Desert to move into design development phase for Palm Springs campus

College of the Desert reached a new milestone in its long-awaited Palm Springs campus. On Wednesday, the College wrapped up its schematic design phase.

It was the fourth public meeting of the project management team charged with expediting the completion of the schematic design plans for the campus.  

COD student JJ Espino is taking film classes at the temporary campus in Palm Springs. He's excited to see the campus evolve.

"It's definitely going to open up a lot of more opportunities and doors, and I'm happy that it's going to happen, even if I'm not one of those students," said Espino. "It's a unique design that I haven't seen before."

The plans reflect the College's vision and direction. The plans have been developed with input and engagement from faculty, staff, students, and community partners. The program has received ongoing input and feedback from faculty and staff to enhance the College's academic offerings.

As the director of education centers for the west valley, Dr.Scott Adkins has been leading the project. His ultimate vision:

"To create a different learning environment than we've never seen before," said Adkins. "It's a new view of how we're going to do education in the future. Also, to enable students to have those indoor-outdoor learning opportunities."

Adkins said the campus will have various unique classrooms and labs that can be adapted for different uses.

Mitchell Fine is the project's architect partner with WRNS Studio. One of the studio's main focus throughout the design process is sustainability. 

"Just everything about the program is very rich and forward-thinking, and we tried to let the architecture reflect that," said Fine.

The campus is going to have a super roof to help conserve energy. 

"It saves on energy costs, but it's also gonna be doing a lot of work. So it's going to support a vast array of photovoltaic panels to provide 50% of energy for the campus while providing cooling," said Fine.

The College is now entering its design development phase. It will work to finalize designs and prepare construction documents and specifications. 

"We're hoping that it will be a place where all the community comes. All the businesses and industries come to gather and learn more," said Adkins.

The College plans to start construction in 2024. 

"I'm trusting that it's very thought out. And it looks like it's gonna feel very grand and welcoming," said Espino.

In February 2023, the Desert Community College District Board of Trustees approved initial plans for the campus, directing staff to incorporate several adjustments into the final schematic design before proceeding with final design and construction plans for submittal to the Division of State Architect (DSA) for final approval.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.


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