Construction has begun on the American Armenian International College's first permanent institutional building in the United States.
The $2.8-million complex, to be located on the University of La Verne's campus at 3rd and C streets in La Verne, will consist of 33,500 square feet of classrooms, laboratories and offices. The three-story structure, designed for 500 students, also will include a library and auditorium.
To exemplify Armenian traditions, a decorative brick mural will be featured on the auditorium's exterior wall and showcases will be installed in the college's main library to display Armenian artifacts.
The project was designed by Los Angeles-based Langdon Wilson Mumper Architects. A.G. Tutor Inc. is the project's contractor.
"The college's goal is to help American-Armenians gain an appreciation of their 3,000-year history," said A.G. Tutor, a 1973 founding member of the Armenian College board of trustees and one of the college's major benefactors. The new college has been made possible through the private donations of Armenians worldwide, he added.
There are between 250,000 and 300,000 Armenians in Southern California, Tutor said. He expects the college to grow tremendously over the next five years, in part because the institution has the only academic program in the United States that combines higher education with a traditional Armenian environment.