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University board OKs second campus

September 27, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The deal has been signed — an open field about a mile east of Brawley adjacent to Highway 78 is to become the site of a North County San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus.

By a unanimous vote Tuesday, the California State University Board of Trustees accepted 200 acres free of charge from the Alamitos Land Co.

That land will be converted into what will be known as the SDSU-Imperial Valley Campus - Brawley.

The Brawley site and the SDSU campus in Calexico will be considered one campus with two locations, said Khosrow Fatemi, dean of the Calexico campus. Fatemi also will head the Brawley site

The decision by the CSU trustees Wednesday brought to a close months of talks between the state college system and Alamitos, which owns land throughout the Valley.


The idea for the Brawley site has come as the Calexico campus has started to outgrow its facilities and as projections indicate the student population is going to continue to grow.

In addition, statistics show 30 percent of the Imperial Valley population is based in the North County while only 9 percent of the SDSU student enrollment in Calexico comes from North County.

"Distance is depriving students," Fatemi said, adding the new campus is expected to meet the clear need for more higher educational opportunities in the Valley.

"I think this is a tremendous day; an historic day for higher education in the Imperial Valley," he said.

The goal is to have classes start at the North County site as early as fall 2002 and serve as many as 200 students. The classes will be in portable buildings as funding is sought to construct permanent facilities.

According to Colleen Bentley-Adler, director of public affairs for the CSU, there will be no state funding set aside for the project at this time. She said the majority of the funding would have to come from private donations.

Fatemi added the local SDSU campus would seek federal funding to help finance a portion of the project.

He said it is difficult to state a cost of the project because the facility will be built in phases over a long period. Initially, there are expected to be about three permanent buildings and as demand grows more will be added.

Fatemi said the North County facility will provide the same educational programs and services as the Calexico facility, which offers 11 baccalaureate degrees, five master's programs, and course work leading to three teaching credentials.

The Brawley facility will focus more on agricultural business while Calexico will focus on international business.

Still, Fatemi said students could complete degrees in international business or agricultural business at either campus.

There are more than 887 students attending the SDSU campus in Calexico, and projections are that by 2010 the demand for services will make the student population double. Fatemi said it is expected that the two campuses together will serve more than 1,700 students by 2010.

Gilbert Dominguez, president and superintendent of Imperial Valley College, said IVC is back in a growth trend and will be sending more students on to the local SDSU campus.

County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber said of the agreement between Alamitos and the CSU, "That is extremely good news for Imperial County."

He added, "To have increased educational opportunities will do nothing but help our county."

Leimgruber said when some companies consider whether to move into the Valley, they look at the skills of the work force.

He said IVC and the SDSU campus in Calexico go a long way toward providing a higher education, but extending the SDSU campus into North County will increase the number of students served.

A ceremony to celebrate the new facility has been set for 10 a.m. Monday at the Brawley site in the field north of Highway 78, one mile east of Highway 111. The public is invited.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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