Since opening our doors more than 60 years ago, the College of the Desert has experienced tremendous change and incredible success, leading it to become one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation.
In 2019, the College celebrated 1,394 graduates, an all-time high, and that number is expected to grow this year. To accommodate that growth and the demand for a workforce trained to meet the needs of local industries, College of the Desert are planning a new Palm Springs Campus.
The site, which is in the design phase, will serve as a regional workforce innovation center where students can learn and train for jobs and careers in the areas of digital media and film; hospitality and culinary arts; healthcare; and sustainability. A newly cemented partnership with Cal Poly Pomona will make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture without having to leave the Coachella Valley.
Just as important as our academic programming is the layout and design of the campus. The master architects and planners for the project recently revealed their vision for space. It will be innovative and accessible, built to frame magnificent mountain views, accommodate learning with world-class instructional spaces, and honor the history of the area’s midcentury modern architecture.
When the expanded academic space opens in 2023, it will replace temporary classrooms and computer labs now used in Palm Springs, providing greater accessibility to college classes for residents of the western Coachella Valley. In addition to the main campus in Palm Desert, the Palm Springs site will round out our regional network of satellite campuses in Indio, Mecca/Thermal and Desert Hot Springs.
The 330,000-square-foot campus will feature a teaching hotel, restaurant and kitchen, modern instruction space, experiential labs, student commons, flexible event space, and a high-tech digital accelerator space and classrooms. The school will be located on 29 acres of what was once the Palm Springs Mall.
Our goal is to make the new campus sustainable and state-of-the-art in every way, which is made possible thanks to Measure CC bond monies.
The buildings will be designed to blur the line between indoors and out, with overhangs that connect structures and provide shade. The multi-functional spaces will be adaptable to future needs and the architecture will lend the campus a well-defined institutional identity.
The campus expansion promises unparalleled opportunities for our students, as well as our business partners and the community. It will allow us to expand our efforts in professional and workforce development and draw people from around the world for professional development opportunities.
College of the Desert has a long and distinguished history of linking with the public- and private-sector partners to create academic- and career-themed programming that is vital to the growth of our region and workforce. Our partnership with DIGICOM and its CEO David Vogel, former president of Walt Disney Studios, to create a Center for Digital Media Education on the Palm Springs campus is a good example of this.
The Palm Springs campus will be the hub of countless state-of-the-art programs, all packaged into an environment designed to expand and enhance learning opportunities and exploration.
This is an exciting time to be part of higher education in the Coachella Valley!