Even under the most hopeful scenario, it will be four years before the first class is taught at the California State University branch campus being planned on a portion of Taylor Ranch near Ventura.
So, as an interim remedy for the cramped university center in mid-town Ventura, Cal State has announced that it will move the facility to a larger site in Ventura or Oxnard by this summer.
"I have some mixed emotions about leaving this place," said Joyce M. Kennedy, director of the classroom complex. "I love the center profoundly. But I'm happy that it has progressed to this point."
For the 1,000 third- and fourth-year students who are enrolled at the center, news of the planned move comes none too soon.
Small classrooms are usually packed with more than 30 students. Some classes are held at local high schools for lack of space. Parking is scarce. Even a 7,000-volume library donated last year remains packed in cardboard boxes in a storeroom.
"We love it, we can't wait," chimed in several students when asked about the move from the center on Maple Street.
At Least 12 Classrooms
The facility, which has been located in 8,500 square feet of office space for the last 14 years, will be moved to a site with at least 12,000 square feet, Cal State officials said.
Instead of six classrooms and three small seminar rooms, students will have at least 12 classrooms. Enrollment, which has grown from 100 students in 1974, is expected to reach 1,500.
More than three-quarters of those students are women, Kennedy said. Most come from Ventura County and are in their mid-30s.
They are enrolled in 20 degree and credential programs in a wide range of subjects, from computer engineering to nursing to fire protection. Next fall, three new degrees will be offered in Chicano studies, English and history.
The classes, which have been offered jointly by Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara, will be offered solely through Cal State at the new center.
The facility planned for Taylor Ranch is expected to serve about 2,500 students and might eventually be home to a four-year university, Cal State officials said.