Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

No More Portables
Voters OK $8 Million Construction Bond Measure
to Complete College of the Canyons for 7,500 Students.


Above: A 4-page special edition of the student newspaper, "The Canyon Call," paid for by the "Citizens' Committee to Complete College of the Canyons" and COC's Associated Student Body, distributed in the January 31, 1973 edition of The Signal newspaper, stumps for passage of an $8 million construction bond measure in a special election scheduled for the following Tuesday, February 6, 1973.

At the time, COC was an all-temporary campus in Valencia with approximately 1,900 students (1,000 daytime, 900 nighttime) housed in leased portable buildings — although certain permanent buildings were already under con­struc­tion including the Dr. William G. Bonelli Instructional Resource Center (IRC). College officials expected the $8 million in local funds to unlock an $11.5 million state match from a statewide $160 million community college construction bond act that passed the previous November. The funds would be pooled to complete the IRC, the Student Center, laboratory classrooms, the Cougar Stadium football field and more.

Local voters overwhelmingly said "Yes." When the ballots were tallied that same night at COC, the bond measure prevailed with 79.7 percent of the vote (3,618-922). It needed a two-thirds supermajority to pass. All parts of the Santa Clarita Valley within the college's service area pushed it over the line except for Castaic "proper" and one of two Friendly Valley precincts. Some Valencia precincts came in above 90 percent.

Buildout was targeted for 1975 to accommodate an estimated 7,500 students by 1982. (For comparison purposes, COC served 32,894 students during the 2017-2018 academic year.)

Read more about the bond campaign here.

Click to enlarge.

Vote for Bonds.

A brief board of trustees meeting at College of the Canyons Tuesday night ended before polls closed at 8 p.m., and a few wives, students, and college officials drifted into seats in the board room.

On a blackboard in front of the room, trustee chairman Bruce Fortine drew lines and columns, ready to post election results in the college's $8 million bond issue. It needed 66.6 percent of the vote to pass.

"Did the rain help or hurt us?" people asked.

The first answer, recorded by business manager Robert Berson on his calculating machine, was encouraging if inconclusive. Absentee ballots went 27-11 for the bonds, a comfortable 71.05 percent.

Then, only minutes apart, people came sloshing through the door in the modest temporary building, lugging metal boxes about the size of fruit cartons. They turned in slips with results.

An hour and a quarter later, as grins in the crowd widened, the 28th and last precinct came in. The final total showed that the bonds had reaped an overwhelming 79.7 percent approval — four out of every five of the 4,550 ballots.

The next day, a spokesman for the office of Chancellor of Community Colleges in Sacramento said, "That is the highest percentage we have heard of since this office was created five years ago."

Both Fortine and college president Robert Rockwell credited the victory to diligent precinct work by students and citizens.

The light vote — 19.5 percent of the 23,100 registered voters in the area — is standard for school elections, which generally bring about a 20-percent turnout. Only two precincts, one in the retirement community of Friendly Valley and the other in Castaic, failed to muster a two-thirds majority. However, the two Friendly Valley precincts, normally strongly against bond issues, together gave the college a 66.3 percent affirmative vote, a hair short of the two-thirds requirement.

Highest approval was the 90.4 percent at Old Orchard clubhouse in Valencia.

College trustees said they expect to move forward as quickly as possible with construction of the finished campus. Scheduled for completion this fall, from previous bond funds, are an instructional center and automotive shop.

The college has also been granted state funds toward a student activity center, including music rooms. On the program are a science laboratory building, a vocational building, a gymnasium with covered swimming pool, and a stadium.

The Chancellor's office has said that the college is currently entitled to an additional $8 million of state aid to help complete the campus.

The actual funding of the aid, however, awaits approval by various state agencies, including the Departments of Finance and Public Works, and the Legislature and Governor.

College officials are optimistic about getting the state money because a junior college bond issue for just that purpose was passed at last November's election.

COC Sells Bonds for Buildings.

Click to enlarge.

A $2.5 million College of the Canyons bond issue has been sold to an underwriting group headed by Bank of America.

The sum will help finance COC's largest single construction project, including three major buildings and a football stadium.

Total cost of the project is about $6.5 million, but the state has agreed to pay over $4 million of the sum. COC's $2.5 million share comes out of an $8 million bond issue voted the district last February.

In buying the bonds, Bank of America charged the district a low-bid interest rate of 5.4 percent. The bonds will be paid off, out of local taxes, over a period of 25 years.

COC business manager Robert Berson said the rest of the college's $8 million in bonds will be sold as construction projects get under way. The next building phase is scheduled to begin in July 1974, when work will start on the physical education complex (including gym and pool) and a vocational-technical arts building.

Three major buildings in the current project will serve as the heart of COC's permanent campus. They include a classroom and laboratory buildings, to be built as wings of the Bonelli Instructional Resources (library) Center.

The Bonelli Center is now nearing completion.

The classroom wing will include faculty and administrators' offices as well as classes. In the lab wing, classes will also be held, and a computer center will be located there.

Also to be built is a humanities/student center, which will serve as a center for student activities, dining, and will house music and drama departments.

The stadium will seat 6,000, and additional roads, parking facilities and landscaped areas will be built.

All projects are set for completion in early 1975.

COC, in its fourth year, is still located in leased temporary buildings at the Valencia site.

Download individual files here.

• Early COC Athletics
• The Canyon Call


District Named "Santa Clarita," College "Canyons" (1967/1969)


Future Valencia Campus


Hart Grads Pick COC 6/1969


COC Opens 9/1969


COC at Hart 1969


Trustees 1969-70


Campus Dedication 10-26-1970


Instant Campus 1970


Modular Buildings Early 1970s


Graduation 1971


Fashions 3/1972


Claffey Elected 1972

Claffey Obituary 2015


Marketing Brochure, IRC Rendering ~1972


1973 Construction Bond


1973 Yearbook


Bill Leach, Award Winner 3/1973


IRC Construction 5/1973 (Mult.)


IRC, Cougar Statium Const. 7/1973 (Mult.)


IRC Construction 1973-74 x3


Reagan at IRC Dedication 1974 x2


1975 Yearbook


1976 Yearbook


1977 Yearbook


Ex-Trustee Don Benton Nominated to Run Selective Service System, 2017

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