MPC Education Center

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MPC Education Center at Marina                            

Progress to date, March 2007                                   

Information provided by Dr. John Gonzalez, Vice President of Academic Affairs



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Monterey Peninsula College is on the verge of significant institutional change related to implementation of long-awaited plans for the MPC Education Center at Marina and the MPC Public Safety Training Center at Seaside.  This discussion document is intended to provide an historical context for these initiatives and an overview of the issues associated with successful implementation.


The College received the 20+ acres Imjin Road property in August 2005.  In fall 2006, discussions with the City of Marina regarding potential traffic impact on the Education Center resulted in property adjustments that eliminated potential negative impact to the site.   These property adjustments were approved by the MPC Board of Trustees at the February 27, 2007 meeting.


MPC had a strong presence at Ft Ord during the years leading up to the base’s closure in 1993 by providing general education curriculum to the troops and their dependents.  The regional demand for educational services remains, and now the College has the opportunity to fulfill the demand for courses from the communities of Marina, Seaside, and CSUMB.


The MPC Education Center at Marina offers a high profile location which is centrally located to serve new developments including University Villages, Cypress Knolls, Marina Heights, and CSUMB housing.  When built out, it is expected that those four developments will provide 7000+ housing units, all of which will have immediate access to MPC.  The University Villages development plan also includes retail shops, big box stores and a hotel/conference center.  Additional economic development projects are also being planned.  MPC will be there to assist in training employees through a variety of business skills and general education offerings.


The College formed the Ft. Ord Advisory Committee in the fall of 2005 to establish the preliminary master plan for the site and to select the architects who will help guide the process.  Out of this process, two subcommittees were formed in the spring of 2006, the Education Center Project Team, and the Public Safety Project Team, with approval of the Academic Senate.  In the fall of 2006, the Education Center Project Team was expanded to include four additional faculty members from different segments of the College, in cooperation with the Academic Senate.


The Education Center Project Team will serve as an advisory body to recommend a general mission for the Center including overall programmatic directions, based on input from division surveys, the community needs assessments, and institutional goals.


Conversations regarding co-planning are also underway between the College, the City of Marina, CSUMB, and the private developers.  The intent is to develop strong win-win partnerships between and amongst the College and the agencies to best share resources and maximize opportunities.




The initial enrollment target for the Center is 500 full-time equivalent students (FTES) per year, including winter and summer sessions at both MPC’s Education Center at Marina and MPC’s Public Safety Training Center at Seaside.  The 500 FTES figure stems from a review of the community needs assessment and the programmatic size required for operational efficiency at a satellite center. Thus, the project team used that number as its base for calculating space in any initial buildings.


The designation of “Education Center” has specific meaning to the State.  MPC’s Education Center holds that status from its years operating on the old Fort Ord.  Education center status establishes minimum enrollment targets and support services.  Center designation entitles the College to State funding to help support the operation, and it allows the College to apply for State building funds for the Center independently of the main campus.  As a result, the College may apply for State funds for future Education Center building projects without impacting main campus projects.




During February 2005, the Office of Institutional Research (OIR) at MPC conducted a survey to determine the educational and support service needs of residents in the Fort Ord area.  The OIR mailed 6,000 surveys to a random, representative sample of households in Marina and Seaside.  As of March 21, 2005 the OIR received over 400 surveys, a 7% response, which is typical for mail surveys.


The resulting information was used by the initial Education Center Project Team to plan space needs for curriculum and services that might be on site from the opening of the new center.  The information was also used as a guide for the College’s transition to the Education Center through leasing of space in the City of Marina at UC’s Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology Center (UC-MBEST).  Additional community needs assessments are being conducted in spring 2007, involving mail surveys to residents and businesses, as well as interviews of selected groups. The course offerings on the old Fort Ord will also be reviewed.  Collectively, this information will guide initial programmatic planning for the Education Center, with careful attention to ensuring a complementary relationship to the offerings at the main campus.  In addition, the Office of Academic Affairs is surveying the divisions to gather their thoughts about what and how their areas might be represented at the Center.  The division responses are a critical element in developing an institutional perspective for the Education Center.  The original site planning anticipated offering general education transfer and basic skills classes, as well as a basic skills lab.  For support of the growing number of businesses in the immediate proximity to the Center, the plan is to have a business skills lab to support career/technical and training needs.  The results of the community needs assessments and division surveys will clarify the Center’s mission and initial program planning.




The MPC Education Center at Marina will be developed as a satellite site of the College.  Its primary role is to serve as a gateway center, providing students access to initial basic skills and general education courses, as well as discrete skills training opportunities.  In most instances, students will complete their programs of study at the main campus.


As stated earlier, the Education Center Project Team will serve as an advisory body to recommend a general mission for the Education Center including programmatic directions by taking into consideration input from division surveys, the community needs assessments and institutional goals.




As a part of the College’s effort to serve the communities of Seaside and Marina, the College signed a lease with the UC-MBEST Center for classroom and office space for the 2006-2007 year, and the Public Safety Training programs moved to their site on Colonel Durham Road. 


General Education classes have been offered at the MBEST site over the 2006-2007 academic year, by mutual agreement between the divisions and the Office of Academic Affairs.  Continued use of the UC-MBEST Center for classes is not anticipated to go beyond the 2006-2007 school year. The College is developing a transitional presence on its own property while the permanent Center is being planned and built. Two temporary classrooms of 960 sq ft, one office building of similar size for clerical support as well as faculty/staff work and meeting space, and one bathroom building will be installed at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 12th Street.  We expect to offer classes in the facility starting in fall 2007.


Program planning for fall 2007 courses and services will be based on currently available information, including the results of the previous community needs assessment and division surveys.  Course offerings will be developed incrementally as enrollment grows.  However, it is important that initial offerings be coordinated to provide students the opportunity to take multiple classes.  The Office of Academic Affairs will review the suggested offerings to ensure maximum flexibility for students and efficient use of the limited facilities.




MPC is looking forward to the development of the Education Center with an initial eight classroom/office building which will house five Smart classrooms, one basic skills lab, one business skills lab, faculty offices, Student Services and administrative offices, and a lounge/study hall for students.


The size of the initial building and the number of classrooms/labs were derived by balancing three factors; community needs, budget, and the FTES target of 500.  First, the project team looked at courses, programs, and services that were identified by the community survey of 2005 and matching those with what the team thought could reasonably be offered at the Center without major duplication of expensive labs.  Second, there was a limited budget available through the bond funds. Finally, to determine the number of instructional spaces needed, the project team worked backward from the target of 500 FTES by calculating the square-foot room capacity needed by regular lecture classrooms as affected by State minimum capacity/load ratio standards.


The limited space of the Education Center’s first phase suggests several planning principles:


  1. The primary role of the Education Center is to provide initial courses in program sequences, after which students will enroll at the main campus.

  2. Self-contained programs at the Education Center will be limited and based on evidence of community need.

  3. Facilities will be designed and scheduled on a multi-use basis.

  4. Adherence to the class schedule template is essential to ensure maximum use of classrooms and labs.

  5. Through effective use of technology and strategic scheduling of support services, students taking classes at the Education Center should be able to access most services without having to travel to the main campus.




Initial planning for faculty, classified, and administrative staffing at the Education Center has been limited to the transitional offerings at the UC-MBEST Center.  However, with the impending move of the Public Safety Training programs to the Seaside site and plans to locate temporary Education Center classrooms and services at the Marina site,  Academic Affairs, Student Services, and Administrative Services have been asked to examine facility and program needs to develop an initial staffing strategy.  This strategy will be tied to the results of the community needs assessments, responses from division surveys, the requirements of incremental program growth, and the availability of institutional funding.  All staffing recommendations will be presented for collegial review through the College’s resource planning and allocation process through College Council.  As the programmatic directions for the Education Center become clearer, a multi-year staffing strategy will be developed allowing for effective fiscal planning and consideration of related issues.




The College has communicated progress of the development of the Education Center site regularly to the Academic Senate, the Academic Affairs Advisory Group, and the Board.  At this stage of program planning, it is important that this communication broaden to involve all components of the College. This discussion document is an attempt to provide needed background for the coming discussions, and the College will continue to make the campus aware of what is happening by expanding how and where the information is disseminated.

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