SMC to Unveil New $115M High-Tech Campus for Media, Design, and KCRW

Santa Monica College will hold a grand opening for its newest campus on December 2, 2017. The $115 million campus on Stewart Street in Santa Monica will host The Center for Media and Design—uniting all of SMC’s instructional programs in media content development and design in one location—and the KCRW Media Center.

Santa Monica College’s NPR radio station KCRW 89.9 will be located on SMC’s new Center for Media and Design campus on Stewart Street, in the contemporary three-story KCRW Media Center. This is the first time the station will have a standalone building in its history.

Interior views of Santa Monica College’s new Center for Media and Design which includes classrooms, a student radio station and production suite; a TV & film production studio; a film & TV video screening auditorium; among many state-of-the-art features for the college’s media content development and design instructional programs.

November 20, 2017

December 2 Grand Opening to Honor Public Support and Private Donors

Santa Monica, CA—Santa Monica College (SMC) is proud to announce the official opening of its newest campus—housing The Center for Media and Design (CMD) and the KCRW Media Center—on December 2, 2017. The grand opening will honor the Santa Monica and Malibu voters whose support for the 2008 Measure AA bond provided primary funding for $115 million in new facilities at the high-tech campus, as well as the 5,800 private donors who donated to a KCRW capital campaign.

Located in the heart of the entertainment district and the area known as “Silicon Beach”—home to roughly 500 media firms and tech startups—the Center for Media and Design unites all the SMC programs focused on media content development and design—including its first-ever baccalaureate program in Interaction Design (IxD)—on one campus. Only two private universities in California provide comparable degrees in this high-paying tech and design field, and SMC is the only community college to offer the four-year program, at a fraction of the cost.

The Center houses SMC’s acclaimed film production program; student films have won numerous accolades including a BAFTA nomination; Best Short Drama at the San Diego Film Festival; been accepted thrice into competition at the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival, among many others. In addition, the campus will host SMC’s award-winning student newspaper The Corsair; industry-centric programs in broadcasting, journalism, graphic design, animation, game design, digital media, interior architectural design, film and media studies and “Promo Pathway”, the nation’s first accredited program—and industry partnership—to train students for entertainment promotion and marketing production careers.

KCRW 89.9FM—the award-winning NPR station licensed to Santa Monica College—will also be located on the CMD campus, the first time the station will have a standalone building in its history. Daily live music performances, news and cultural programs, a full roster of podcasts, and other innovative digital content for its local and national broadcast and global internet audiences will be produced here. An outdoor stage, viewing platforms within the station itself, and a large screening auditorium on the campus site will allow the public greater opportunities to engage more closely with KCRW through live events and more.

Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC Superintendent/President, described the opening of the new campus as “the beginning of a new era—marking the synergy of Santa Monica College’s foremost vehicle of public engagement, KCRW, with SMC’s vital work of providing pathways to well-paying careers and the possibility of a more promising future to students who would otherwise not have it.”

“Not only will this beautiful and modern campus allow us the flexibility of adapting to future technological advances,” said Dr. Jeffery, “but it also provides Santa Monica College students an inspiring, collaborative space, with access to experienced professors and industry-standard equipment. With SMC’s radio station KCRW literally steps from CMD classrooms and ‘hangouts’, students will also have the ability to explore new creative possibilities with access to a media operation highly recognized as one of the best in the nation.”

The CMD campus will act as a hub for the development of new programs and professional development (many funded through grants such as the state’s Strong Workforce Program), and SMC’s portion of the LA HI-TECH initiative, the Los Angeles area program established by the White House’s TechHire Initiative and launched by President Obama to expand access to tech jobs.

“I cannot overstate the value of this new campus—both to regional industry and to our students,” said Frank Dawson, SMC Dean of Career Education. “It unveils our determined interdisciplinary commitment to innovation, exploration, and creative exchange. The college’s programs in media and design, as well as KCRW, are varied pieces of the same prospect, all preparing students for the most exciting careers available now and in the future.”

KCRW President Jennifer Ferro echoed Dawson’s sentiment. “KCRW is all about creating a vibrant community around exceptional content,” said Ferro. “We could not be more thrilled to see this physical manifestation of KCRW as a cultural center for Los Angeles and beyond—a space which will allow our talented team to take the station to the next level, and also provides us the flexibility of including both SMC students and the community at large in our content on a daily basis.”

Clive Wilkinson Architects designed the project, which consisted of reconfiguring and renovating an existing 50,000-square-foot teaching facility, constructing a new 30,000-square foot instructional media and design wing, a separate new three-story building for KCRW, and a seven-level parking structure equipped with Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations. An 18,000-square-foot landscaped courtyard with water features and an outdoor performance stage are showcased in the center of the complex.

Dr. Andrew Walzer, Chair of the SMC Board of Trustees said that the community’s vote in favor of the 2008 bond Measure AA was “not just a vote to support this essential new resource, but a vote of confidence in SMC’s mission and value to Santa Monica and the greater Southern California region.”

“Expanding career horizons for underserved and first-generation college-bound students is a major priority for this college,” he said.

In addition to the bond, KCRW created a capital campaign to complete and equip the new KCRW building and provide funding for program development. “As Chair of the KCRW Foundation Board, it is an honor to see the dedication and generosity of over 5,800 donors to KCRW, and for their largesse to display itself in such a meaningful way,” said KCRW Foundation Chair Matt Kline. “I know our community will be deeply enriched by this investment in KCRW and SMC because the creativity and learning these great institutions inspire are critically vital to Los Angeles and California’s future.”

The Center’s 30,000-square-foot Media Wing features a post-production classroom; a student radio station and production suite; multiple editing bays; a TV and film production studio with eight control rooms; a green screen; an art studio; a café; and a state-of-the-art 180-seat film and video screening auditorium. It was designed from the ground up to encourage the type of collaboration critical to success in today’s evolving media environment.

The other segment of the campus, a newly renovated 50,000-square-foot Design Wing includes computer, design and general education classrooms; faculty and student services offices; newspaper production rooms; a tutoring lab; a computer lab; as well as meeting and collaborative spaces.

KCRW, which has occupied the basement of SMC’s Cayton Center since 1984, as well as having offices in four other locations, will unite all of its operations under one roof in the contemporary three-story KCRW Media Center.

The CMD campus is on track to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification standards for sustainability and use of environmentally conscious materials. The campus is located at 1660 Stewart Street in Santa Monica. More information on the SMC programs housed there is available at

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About Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College is the leader among California’s 114 community colleges in transfers to the University of California, USC, and Loyola Marymount University. SMC also offers over 110 career-focused degrees and certificates—in fields such as Early Childhood Education, Game Design, Animation, Film Production, Accounting, and many more—which prepare students for direct entry into the job market or for transfer.

About KCRW

KCRW creates and curates a unique mix of content centered around music discovery, NPR news, cultural exploration and informed public affairs. KCRW is driven by the spirit of Los Angeles and delivers in innovative ways—on the radio, digitally and in person—to diverse, curious communities around the corner and around the world. A community service of Santa Monica College, KCRW can be found on the air in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Mojave, Palm Springs, San Luis Obispo, via the KCRW app, and at