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Temecula Backs Murrieta Site for University

The site would serve the needs of students in both cities, officials agreed.

Temecula officials agreed today to give up plans to lure a university to Temecula in favor of backing a site in Murrieta.

Officials from Temecula and Murrieta met at today to discuss how they can work together to bring a university to the area.

Officials are working on annexing a 200-acre lot on Los Alamos and Briggs roads in Winchester owned by Anheuser-Busch, said Murrieta Councilmember Rick Gibbs.

The lot was perfect, since the campus would need a minimum of 200 acres, he said. “If we don’t get 200 acres, it’s not worth doing.”

Temecula made plans in 2005 with a developer, AGK Group, to build a four-story multi-use educational complex on Diaz Road north of Winchester Road, but after the city spent millions grading and improving the land, the developer reneged.

The city later made plans with a hospital management company to build a medical complex on the land. More than 5 years later, they are still in the planning stage.

The failed medical center plan had a positive side-effect for the city: it lead to the opening of Mt. San Jacinto College and California State University, San Marcos satellite campuses at other sites. Mt. San Jacinto and Concordia occupy buildings in the city’s industrial west side and the Cal State shares a campus with a continuation school on Margarita Road.

The population of Temecula and Murrieta will support an entire campus, said Murrieta City Manager Rick Dudley.

“This is the largest populated area in the state without a CSU campus,” he said. “We need more than part of a high school campus.”

Officials decided to draft an agreement to show to Cal State representatives to show they agree a location in either city will be equally good.

“I have absolutely no ego about where it goes,” Temecula Councilmember Mike Naggar said at the meeting.

“You need to do it. Get it,” Naggar said to the Murrieta officials. “If you had the 200 acres today, then our goal today would be to raise the money.”

Figuring out how to pay for the campus will be the next challenge, officials agreed.

“The tough part is, where do we get the money from?” Gibbs asked. “Without $1 million from donors, how are we going to get a university built?”

In the state of the economy, they may need to rely on private funding – for profit or for charity. “There’s no money to build these colleges. It’s going to have to be privately funded,” Naggar said.

Building a college in the area will likely help the economy by educating the workforce, Gibbs said.

When Murrieta tried to attract a medical manufacturing facility, they passed the city over, he recalled. “They’re telling us, we don’t have an educated workforce in bio-engineering,” Gibbs said.

Many local students get good educations, but they leave the area and never return, Murrieta Councilmember Kelly Bennett said.

“We’ll never get our kids back if we keep shipping them out to four-year school,” she said. “They’ll never come back to practice their skills.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of the article stated Anheuser-Busch donated the 200-acre lot to the county. The beer company is negotiating the deal with the county, but they still own the land.

BK April 07, 2011 at 02:53 PM
From my understanding, they can't even fill the seats for the space shared with the high school. How is spending milti-million dollars on a campus going to be any better? We don't need a campus. There are plenty of schools to attend in the direct vacinity. Just because every other city/town has one doesn't mean we have to have one. Other cities have power lines serving the purposes mentioned in another article I've read, but you all are fighting against that. You fight issues about street names. Who cares if a name is changed? Notify those you do business with and you will be fine. They will adjust and so will you. You fight the silliest issues (when they don't fit your life style or bring in loads of money), but you agree on building more wineries thus putting more drunk drivers on the streets, and you agree on building a campus just because everyone else has one. It simply doesn't make any sense. Heck, the university that I attend doesn't even fill all its seats. There are only a few classrooms used at any given time. My recommendation is to utilize the space we currently have. Let's justify the real need for a brand new campus before we needlessly waste money. If you just have to have a campus, go up the 215 and take a look at all of those brand new buildings which were built and never used. Convert that area into a campus, thus having a one to call your own. It's close, simple to do, and cost effective. If seats aren't filled, money is not wasted as much.
Jen April 07, 2011 at 04:55 PM
I would love this! As a single mom working and attending school, having a csu campus so close would be so helpful! As it is I am considering moving out of area to be closer to a unniversity as san marcos does not offer my major. Hopefully they can make this happen before its time to transfer!
Steven Graff April 07, 2011 at 05:30 PM
By having a university campus in SW Riverside County, with biochemistry, biology and other science courses and laboratories, both Temecula and Murrieta would be able to attract the type of low polluting, high paying medical technology industries that would keep the graduates here with the prospect of employment. We need to change our basic demographic work force in Temecula and Murrieta from construction oriented to technology oriented. As our population ages, the needs of our nation are going to be focused more and more on health care. We should all support a university in our community.
Chris April 09, 2011 at 04:17 AM
I know there are private Universities looking at buidling here too. Which won't use tax payers money. The last I heard from a friend who was actually looking for land for the LDS Church to build a CA Campus of BYU in this area. I know that doesn't bode well for college students who would be forced to live high standards and the strict code of ethics that their colleges require. Of course those of us who are Aztec fans all saw what happen this year during the Basketball season, but it would bring a top ten ranking US college to the area as BYU ranks in the top 15 in almost everything I found out. Plus, in many areas they are # 1 or top 3 in all US Colleges. I bring this up, so if the city can't get a Cal State School here the city might not be stuck with the Land and with a huge school like BYU willing to buy the property and actively searching now. The only problem I see is BYU is big in Business from what I researched and not the bio medical field so that might be an issue.....


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