Mailbag: City instrumental in new college site

September 09, 2010
  • Anthony Illuminato (in wheelchair) surrounded by family.
Anthony Illuminato (in wheelchair) surrounded by family. (Photo courtesy…)

The following letter was addressed to Laguna Beach Mayor Elizabeth Pearson and members of the City Council:

All summer, the college has been working with the landlord of property at Big Bend in Laguna Canyon (formally 2825 Laguna Canyon Road), along with various consultants and contractors, to completely remodel a 9,500-square-foot building and create new quarters for our Visual Communication division. We have long needed good teaching and learning space for our high-tech departments of Graphic Design, Animation, and Game Art. As the deadline for building inspections and approvals got closer, and the beginning of the fall semester loomed closer still, the pressure built to unusually high levels to have the teaching spaces ready. Classes in the new space began Tuesday morning, complete with state-of-the-art computer hardware and software all up and running. Instructors are thrilled to finally have have a space that rivals any art and design college in the country.


Returning students who started in older quarters on the main campus are very pleased they can complete their studies and projects in new facilities. New students don't know how lucky they are.

I'd like to make you aware of your city employees who recognized the urgency, scheduled their work accordingly, and got us up and running.

John Pietig, working with the blessing of Ken Frank, stands out. His "customer service" orientation really came through in the final hour.

All of John Montgomery's team in Community Development were admirable.

Many were involved from the Building Department, but Monica Tuchscher stands out for me because I spent time talking with her directly and I know how committed she became to the project. Three code compliance officers and building inspectors spent extra time in the final hours making sure the engineers and contractor got things right: John Gustafson, Doug Miller, and Rick Bennett. Supporting staff, and others I'm sure I've neglected to mention, all helped. And I do not forget Fire Marshall Tom Christopher of your Fire Department who worked with us to make sure the building was safe and up to code.

Getting new facilities like this is a milestone for the college. The engagement by Assistant City Manager Pietig and all of the others truly makes the city a partner with us in educating the next generation of great artists and designers. On behalf of all at the college—especially students and faculty—my deepest thanks.

Dennis Power

Laguna Beach

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