Brentwood center will turn out fine

Jake Libbey, Guest Columnist

Back in 2010, the Contra Costa Community College District governing board gave their approval of a site in Brentwood that would expand and create a new second permanent campus for Los Medanos College.
The Pittsburg campus, opened in 1974, underwent a major renovation in the past few years, which included adding a new library and updating the science and math buildings, along with the capacity becoming increased by fifty percent. In 1998, an extension was added in Brentwood that used to be home to a supermarket, but now currently is the second campus for Los Medanos.
The Pittsburg campus in total reaches 120 acres, while the Brentwood extension in all is only 22,000 square feet. In total, there are around 9,000 students enrolled during a semester, but with the Bay Area growing more and more every year, LMC will need to find a new site for a full campus, not just an old supermarket. As a student who currently lives in Brentwood, I am signed up for all my classes at the Brentwood extension, which benefits me since I don’t need to waste gas driving out to Pittsburg for a class or two. The absolute worst part though, of course, is the parking situation. Since the campus is part of an ongoing shopping center, students who attend continue to struggle finding parking, since there is limited space. If you don’t leave early and get one of the best parking spots, you drive round and round, constantly looking for the one spot you find when somebody backs out. If not one of the lucky people, you are forced to park in front of Dollar Tree or McDonald’s. But in a couple years, all of those problems will be non-existent, as there is a planned new site for a bigger and better (and permanent) second campus in Brentwood.
The planned site for this new campus will be located on Marsh Creek Road, next to the Vineyards Parkway intersection. The campus is expected to debut in the fall of 2018, which will be two-stories high, 44,000 square feet, and will also include a bookstore, lecture halls, classrooms and 750 parking spaces. To me, this sounds like an amazing plan that will benefit students, teachers, and the community as a whole, not being stuck in an old shopping center, being its own standing campus. But BART officials and residents around the area have been less than enthusiastic about the site.
BART officials wanted the new site to possibly be completed with the new e-Bart station, which is also been under construction for a while now as well. The e-Bart station is near the intersection of Highway 4 in Antioch. This would create more traffic, since the BART building is already going to be near a busy area in Antioch. Despite the questioning of the site, the board decided not to move the already planned site, not only because of a 4-1 vote from last year, but because the land already was purchased to begin construction. Now the next obstacle to conquer would be the residents in surrounding neighborhoods.
The current residents situated near the site of the new Brentwood campus are mostly middle-aged, and have their doubts about this new location. A nearby street, Fairview Avenue, is always used by residents to travel places, but drivers speed very fast, which frightens the residents, and they believe that with the increase in college students commute to LMC, that traffic is going to become a huge problem for them. George Schmidt, who’s on the Summerset Vista Board of Directors, believes it’s a deadly combination of elders’ slow response time when driving and the increased traffic believed to occur when the campus opens.
All in all, the new planned site for the LMC Brentwood campus does have some obstacles that can be resolved and completed, but overall they will succeed greatly with the new campus that will increase the college’s capacity, hopefully letting more students get the chance to continue their life path after they receive their high school diploma.