El Toro Marine Corps Air Station


Presentation of El Toro Map

Description: The El Toro Marine Corps Air Station covers approximately 4,700 acres. Commissioned in 1943, it supports the Fleet Marine Forces in the Pacific Ocean, serving as the major west coast jet fighter facility. A total of 25 potentially contaminated areas have been identified on the Air Station, including four landfills suspected of containing both hazardous and solid waste, and other areas where polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), battery acids, leaded fuels, and other hazardous substances were suspected of being dumped or spilled. A Remedial Investigation conducted by El Toro has identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) primarily trichloroethene (TCE) in groundwater that has migrated more than three miles off base. The primary source of the groundwater contamination is two large aircraft hangars. Approximately 1,100 acres of land are irrigated by wells located within three miles of the site; however, none of these wells are drinking water sources. Surface water flows into the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, located approximately eight miles from the base.

CSUF El Toro Campus Web Site

EPA Web Site on El Toro


CSU Fullerton Plans Campus at El Toro Base

Development: The university signs a 10-year lease for its South County program, now at Saddleback.


November 8 2001

Cal State Fullerton plans to open a satellite campus at El Toro next fall, becoming the first of what county officials hope will be many tenants temporarily occupying 40 unused buildings despite the murky future of the closed base.

Starting in August, more than 1,300 students currently at Fullerton's crowded South County satellite at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo will pour into classrooms in the 46,000-square-foot Spanish-style building that once housed the Air Wing Headquarters.

Over the next 10 months, university officials plan to spend at least $1.4 million to renovate the 1986 structure, transforming military command posts into classrooms and computer labs. A bookstore and a cafeteria also might be built, said Karon Kaelin, director of Community Relations for Cal State Fullerton. Enrollment is expected to rise to as many as 4,000 students in the next five years.

Under the terms of the 10-year-lease, which Orange County supervisors approved by a 5-0 vote Tuesday, the college's officials have six months to prepare remodeling plans and can back out of the deal during that time.

If an airport is built, a terminal and a hotel are planned for the site of the proposed satellite campus.

In that event, Supervisor Chuck Smith said, he would like to see another area of the base set aside for the college students.

But if airport foes succeed in creating a giant park, Kaelin said she hopes that plan too would allow the university to remain.

"It's a win-win for everyone," Kaelin said. "It serves a need for the population in that part of Orange County."

Kaelin said the idea of using military land for higher learning came from a professor at the satellite campus after he learned of the base's closure.

Saddleback College has been unable to provide enough space for Cal State Fullerton's growing South County operation, which is up to 105 classes taught by more than 90 professors each semester.

For the last three years, the university has been searching for a bigger building to house its South County students, but El Toro is the first site it has found that has sufficient parking. The site is at the northwest end of the base, far from any contaminated land.

The arrangement suits county officials just fine. Over the next few months, they plan to seek tenants for 40 other buildings on the base to pay for maintenance.

The base already houses a golf course, stables, RV storage lots, a model aircraft club, an officers club with catering and banquet facilities, a strawberry field, a bean field and two day-care centers.

Fullerton officials will be charged $1.50 per square foot, or about $68,000 a month. But county officials will grant the university about $24,000 in monthly credits because the university is making renovations and paying its own utility and landscaping costs.

That would bring the rent down to about $44,000 a month for the first five years.

Kaelin said the rent is about the same as what officials are paying at Saddleback, but less than what they would pay at a commercial center.

Starting in 2007, the rent will rise 25%, bringing the total after credits to about $61,000.


All Maps Produced by Geological Sciences Student Rene Perez

Copyright © 2011 W.Richard Laton, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Hydrogeology

California State University, Fullerton

Department of Geological Sciences

(657) 278-7514