Orange Coast College juxtaposes recently constructed state-of-the-art buildings with structures that provide a window into the history of a campus that was transformed from an Army base nearly 70 years ago.
College officials say 1950s-era buildings that are peppered across the Costa Mesa campus — many of them designed by renowned architect Richard Neutra — are no longer able to accommodate the school’s rising population. The campus was originally intended for 1,500 students and now has about 22,000, officials said.
Student demand continues to act as a catalyst for growth — and change — at Orange Coast College as officials charge forward with an expansion plan called Vision 2020.
The plan, which calls for the removal of several Neutra-designed buildings, has drawn criticism from local preservationists who say it fails to pay homage to the campus’ rich history.
In November, the Coast Community College District board of trustees unanimously approved a project that would add a parking structure near the Adams Avenue lot, a modernized planetarium, student housing and a dance facility. […]