PALM SPRINGS — The once-bustling Palm Springs Mall has been demolished, reduced to a pile of rubble to make way for a permanent 330,000-square-foot College of the Desert campus.

It is the end of an era.

The Palm Springs Mall once housed a Hallmark store, Gottschalks, a hardware store, nail salon, cafe and more. The shopping center even hosted Santa in center court. Children lined up to sit on his lap for a photo and chance to relay their Christmas wish.

Palm Springs Mall

Palm Springs Mall is now a pile of rubble.

The Palm Springs Mall had mostly been abandoned since 2005. It was a shell of its former self.

Crews continued this week paving the way for the new campus. Construction of the first phase of the new campus could begin as soon as 2023.

In 2018, the Desert Community College District Board of Trustees announced the purchase of the former Palm Springs Mall for $22 million. Purchase of the approximately 29-acre property allowed development of the permanent Palm Springs Campus to move forward. The site is located at the corner of Farrell Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way.

The location for the Palm Springs Campus will help COD continue to meet the educational demands of future students.

The College is working with local partners to develop education and training centers in existing and emerging industry sectors, including: Digital Media and Film, Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Healthcare, and Sustainable Technologies.

All four of these industry sectors are integral to the regional desert economy, Dr. Joel Kinnamon, superintendent and president of COD, said at the time of the purchase. “We know education and training are the keys to a job, career and a better life for our students and a skilled workforce for local business.”

In January 2018, College of the Desert announced a partnership with DIGICOM and its CEO David Vogel, former president of Walt Disney Studios, to create a Center for Digital Media Education as a building block of the permanent Palm Springs Campus.

Education and career training programs are already underway led by the College in partnership with the hospitality, healthcare and energy industries. Internships are offered in partnership with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, hospitals and local wind and solar companies. COD students operate a radio station, KCOD, out of a studio in Palm Desert. The new campus will expand partnership and program opportunities in these and many other sectors.

The new campus location in the center of Palm Springs offers significant advantages, including proximity to existing infrastructure, access to public transportation, and adjacency to Palm Springs High School, public recreational facilities, including multiple athletic fields and an Olympic-sized pool, the Palm Springs Public Library and the Camelot Theatres.

The temporary Palm Springs Campus, opened in late January 2018, will remain in operation until the permanent campus is able to accommodate students.

In addition to its anchor campus in Palm Desert campus —and the temporary Palm Springs structure — COD has satellite locations in Indio, Thermal and Desert Hot Springs. COD also offers classes at high schools in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, and Rancho Mirage.

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Image Sources

  • Palm Springs Mall: Cindy Uken
  • Palm Springs Mall: Cindy Uken