INDIO, Calif. -

Students attended their first day of classes at the new College of the Desert Indio campus, Tuesday.

The $25 million campus at 45524 Oasis St. can hold as many as 3,000 students. It's three stories high, with 14 classrooms, plus science labs, a state-of-the-art facility filled with opportunity.

The Indio campus offers courses students need to earn an associate degree or transfer to a four year university. The goal is to provide students in the East Valley more options closer to home and ease classroom traffic at the Palm Desert campus.

"This campus is so important to the community it really brings life and education to the center of Indio," said Scott Cooper, COD director of educational centers. "Students have been waiting for this for year, a place to call their own."

"It's really pretty," said first-year student Leidi Mancanarez, of Mecca. "It's closer to not have to go all of the way to Palm Desert. Here it's in the neighborhood."

"The Palm Desert campus has been so overcrowded and it's so hard to get classes there. I think it will be helpful alleviate class size and get the classes they want," said student Leigh Tomasko, of La Quinta.

College of the Desert is also working with the city of Palm Springs on a West Valley campus. College officials said they do not have an updated schedule for completion of the campus.

There's a grand opening at 1 p.m. Friday.

It's not too late to sign up for classes. Students have until Thursday to enroll.

COD offers approximately 200 late starting classes. For a full list of the late starting classes, visit www.collegeofthedesert.edu, click on the Catalog & Schedules tab, locate the Spring Late Start Classes link under the Spring 2014 Class Schedule list.