The Saga of The Mission College

by David DeMullé

For the past decade, beginning with L.A. Mission College president Dr. Judith Valles and ending with Dr. Monte Perez, the question has been “Where are the $25 million Prop J funds and when are they going to have the satellite campus in Tujunga?” First there was the speculation that the college would buy the old K-Mart building and share part of it with commercial vendors such as TJ Max or Target, but those ideas fell through when the family trust that owns the property wouldn’t sell.

The college has long maintained that they were only interested in purchasing a property and not leasing. President Judith Valles had addressed the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council in the past, explaining how they determined that a satellite school would benefit the community and local neighbors. Here statements were happily received by stakeholders, and those questioned about their feelings about having a local college in S-T were enthusiastic.

Specifically addressing that question, Valles stated “If the College is able to lease to other vendors, these (vendors) would have to complement the mission of the College and the master plan for the area, those conditions are unknown at this time because we do not know who they will be.

In specifically asking about Target and if they are interested in working with the College, she further stated “We do not believe that Target is interested in “sharing” the building, I do not have a definitive answer for you at this time.” Then the factor of “owning” the property was set aside and the proposed campus project began moving again.

Things are looking up for the S-T community at large. The contract was signed for space at the Commerce Center Plaza last week and the college sent two of its building services personnel Friday to verify the new site measurements.

With much speculation going on these past months, it was finally determined that the college would only lease one corner building site that measures out at about 1,700 square feet. In the coming weeks, plans will be formalized as to what classes will be offered, how many actual students will be attending the physical facility and how many will be served through the Internet. It is one more of those things that are making Sunland-Tujunga become a place to live and shop. It will be a benefit to everyone here. With the coming of the College and its students, there will be an increase of dollar revenue to local merchants and in particular, to the other residents of the Commerce Center.

It’s really a win-win situation for everybody.

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