Officials at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa thought they had a good idea: lease out some of the campus' valuable open space to private businesses, possibly including a fast-food restaurant.
But the plan, aimed at raising some badly needed money, has drawn fire.
Gary James, dean of mathematics and sciences at the college, called the proposal "a quick fix by the trustees for a serious financial condition . . . but not a lasting solution."
In an editorial, the Orange Coast College student newspaper denounced the leasing proposal, saying "shortsighted decisions now could lead to future problems that could turn out to be even more traumatizing than the funding problems we are facing today."
And Jim Aynes, director of Mesa Action, a slow-growth citizens' group in Costa Mesa, said he would not object to any low-rise development such as fast-food outlets, but he would oppose leases for high-rise construction.
Chancellor David Brownell said the college simply is trying "to put together a program that causes a public entity to take advantage of appreciation in real estate, just exactly as families do and businesses and everyone else."
He said the leases would be for 66 years.
The district's Board of Trustees will consider the issue at a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the college cafeteria building on Fairview Road near Merrimac Way.