MJC's Patterson land deal falls through

A 28-acre land donation agreement for a satellite Modesto Junior College campus in Patterson has fallen through.

Yosemite Community College District officials will start scouring the West Side for another site, they announced Tuesday. Developer Michael Miroyan had until Sunday to turn over the land's title, but the deadline wasn't met.

The district is looking for 20 to 40 acres for an outreach center in Patterson so students won't have to drive to Modesto for some of their classes.

YCCD Chancellor Roe Darnell said Tuesday that he didn't know why Miroyan failed to meet the deadline. Miroyan said Tuesday that he could not comment but would plan a news conference in the next couple of days to address the issue.

"We're not going to let grass grow underneath our feet," Darnell said.

Officials wouldn't discuss the five landowners with whom they're negotiating, saying they have requested anonymity until a deal is finalized. Darnell said a few of them were willing to donate their sites and that all parcels are in Patterson proper.

"Donations are greatly appreciated," Darnell joked.

One unofficial possibility is the PCCP West Park project, a 4,800-acre proposed business and industrial park on land surrounding Stanislaus County's Crows Landing Air Facility southeast of Patterson. Developer Gerry Kamilos is negotiating with county officials on details of the proposal.

Attractive amenities for a Patterson satellite center would include infrastructure and roads that are in place, Darnell said.

Officials hope to bring a recommendation to the YCCD board of trustees at its November meeting.

YCCD officials are pursuing satellite campuses in Patterson, Turlock, Oakdale and Calaveras County for MJC and Columbia College. Out of the district's $326 million Measure E school bond, $5 million is set aside to acquire Patterson land and build facilities.

Miroyan's donation was estimated to be about $5.4 million in 2005.

Throughout the Patterson negotiations, Miroyan has at times been boisterous and disorganized. At one point during a presentation to the YCCD board, Miroyan nearly was escorted from the meeting.

The Saratoga resident put up a "coming soon" sign on the Sperry Road site without permission from the district and obviously before talks were finalized, Darnell said.

"We really appreciate (Miroyan's) efforts," he said. "But we feel obligated to the people on the West Side to move on."

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at mhatfield@modbee.com or 578-2339.

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