Update from President Beal on Campus Planning Process

posted Dec 9, 2014, 4:24 PM by cbliss@cca.edu   [ updated Aug 6, 2015, 4:12 PM by Jim Norrena ]

December 9, 2014

Dear CCA Community,

During the past two decades, CCA has grown in size and reputation, bringing us to an exciting point in the college’s history. This is a time of enormous opportunity for us, but also a time when CCA—and the entire higher educational sector—will encounter new challenges.

Because we want to define and lead next-generation art and design education, we have come together to envision the future of the college through a long-range planning effort.

We are now half-way through the process, and I’d like to update you on what’s happened thus far.

As you may recall, we have been working with the firm Gensler to look at both the organizational aspects and physical assets of the college with the goal of creating a road map for CCA’s future.


The first step was to thoroughly analyze the physical properties of both campuses, looking at the types of spaces and how and when they are being used. We engaged the local firm MKThink to assist Gensler with analytics. Space typologies include open making, specialized making, teaching, community, circulation, faculty and administration, housing, and support.

Several key questions were addressed

  • How much and what kinds of space does CCA have, and how effective are they?
  • When are CCA’s instructional spaces being used, and when are they empty?
  • How efficiently are CCA’s instructional spaces occupied?

Community Engagement

Input from the CCA community is vital to the success of this project, and CCA faculty have been leading the way. To date, more than 500 persons—faculty, students, staff, trustees, and alumni—have been involved in the process by attending meetings/workshops and participating in surveys.

Initial Synthesis

The Gensler team led CCA community members through an exercise called R.E.I.D. We were asked what we would retain, enhance, introduce, and discard from our existing two campuses. The second part of the exercise was imagining a third campus, as if we were going to build the college from scratch.

The purpose of these exercises was to allow participants to let go of preconceived notions and open up to the many possibilities for CCA’s future.

Fortunately, as creative people, we are especially good at this.

The results were interesting, and some unifying ideas emerged

  • Retain: CCA culture
  • Enhance: Teaching and learning environments
  • Introduce: Community
  • Discard: Differentiation and nonfunctional

Some common threads from the community engagement

  • The desire for more integration
  • The notion of a campus that embodies learning by doing
  • Place as a creative platform for new ventures and making

Contextual Issues

Higher education is rapidly evolving, and the future will be user-centric with many possible pathways for teaching and learning.

What will future CCA students need and how will the college respond?

We are taking a look at the Bay Area now and what is projected for the future. Housing, transportation, real estate, economics, and the job market are just some of the issues that will affect us all.

Next Steps

With all this research, analysis, and community input, the Gensler team will now work with CCA staff and faculty to create scenarios for how the college might develop spaces for learning and living. The options will take into consideration enrollment, housing, financing, construction costs, timelines, and many other issues.

We will keep you informed as the project continues. Bookmark campus planning blog and refer to it regularly.

Ultimately, the goal of this long-range planning effort is to create the best possible learning experience for our students while maintaining a strong, sustainable, and resilient institution.

In doing so CCA will take its rightful place as a national and international leader in arts education.


Stephen Beal, President