Orange Coast College (OCC), a community college located in Costa Mesa, CA is a public college. It was established in 1947 and its first classes opened in the fall 1948. It offers Associate of Science and Associate of Art degrees. Certificates of achievement are also available. Classes in lower divisions can be transferred to other colleges or universities. It has approximately 24,000 undergraduate students. Orange Coast College is third in Orange County for population.
Orange Coast College was established after local voters approved a January 1947 measure to create a new junior college. It is located on a 243-acre (0.98km2) site, which was secured from Washington, D.C.’s War Assets Administration. This site is also part of Santa Ana Army Air Base’s 1,300-acre (5.9 km2) deactivated Santa Ana Army Air Base.
Basil Hyrum Peterson was the first official member of the District board. He was appointed as the college’s founder president and superintendent on July 28, 1947. In February 1948, Dr. Peterson hired Fran Albars as the college’s first carpenter. Albers’ 35-member crew (mostly Coast football players who were paid 60 cents per hour) transformed an Army movie theatre into an auditorium, concert hall, and service club into a 500-seat gym; an Army chapel into a venue for theatre productions and student/staff marriages; an Army PX into an administration building; an Army headquarters building into an Army building; an Army PX into an Army library; and an Army battalion headquarters into an administration building.
In the 1950s, the first phase of campus construction was completed by the famed architect Richard Neutra. Neutra designed several modernist structures, including the strikingly minimalist Campus Theater as well as two large lecture halls. They were laid at a 45-degree angle to city streets, much in the same way as The Parkinsons’ layout. In the 1970s, William Blurock, a local architect, was hired to replace many of these original Army buildings with more educational-friendly structures.
The Orange Coast College Foundation received Rabbit Island in December 2002. It is a 38-acre (50,000 m2) island that lies in the North Gulf Islands, Georgia Strait, British Columbia, Canada. It is located 50 miles (80 km), west of Vancouver, British Columbia. The OCC Foundation has used funds from the Orange Coast College School of Sailing & Seamanship to refurbish the facilities and make significant capital improvements. It has also helped fund the use of Rabbit Island as a field station for teaching summer classes in Island Ecology and Biological Diversity, Vertebrate Biology and Intertidal Ecology. In honor of Henry Wheeler, it is now called “Wheeler Station” on Rabbit Island. The island has been used by OCC marine science and biology instructors to study species diversity, species distribution, standing stock, and oceanography. There were plans to seek funding from other sources for the island. The National Science Foundation was a possible funding source. Canadians could rent the island’s facilities. Funding from the Associated Students of OCC, ASOCC, foundation grants, and private donations were also options. After deciding that it was impossible to keep and maintain the island, the Orange Coast College Foundation Board of Directors decided in March 2007 to sell it. After determining that it was impossible to keep and maintain the island, the Orange Coast College Foundation Board of Directors voted to sell the island in March 2007.
A plan was in place to demolish the Neutra buildings at the center of campus in 2015 and create a large central park. There, the 1970s buildings outlying the park will be grouped with several newer buildings.