The private junior college has served students in Rancho Cucamonga since opening about 10 years ago at Town Center Drive near Haven Avenue.
The school had enrolled about 1,000 students in the past, though enrollment had declined to about 600 students currently because of the economy, said campus director Sherril Hein.
The new campus is projected for completion in August 2013 and will be located at 4580 Ontario Mills Parkway.
Steve Perry, real estate director for San Joaquin Valley College, said the favorable cost of land and the visibility gained from passing freeway traffic proved decisive in the decision to move to Ontario at the junction of the 10 and 15 freeways.
The city had recently approved permits for SJVC to move forward with its project, Perry said.
"A lot of the other colleges had moved to freeway frontage and the 10 and the 15 has tremendous traffic flow, and it gives you more exposure," Perry said.
"Where we were located in Terra Vista Business Park had a limited exposure to traffic. In the new location, advertising and exposure is ongoing at virtual no cost."
The new two-story, 50,000 square foot building will sit on 5 1/2 acres.
The site will provide 400 parking stalls to better accommodate the student population, staff, faculty and visitors, school officials said.
The new campus will also comply with green standards and requirements, which will ensure that equipment and materials will enjoy more efficient energy consumption.
"Our new building design is beautiful and places a particular emphasis on student gathering places," Hein said.
"Our indoor student center will provide student study, lounging and eating areas and our large outside patio is perfect for single or group gatherings."
Hein said there was a real desire for the college to stay in the city and executives did make an effort to find a new site in Rancho Cucamonga but could not find a suitable location.
Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Dennis Michael said Hein had shared with him her disappointment and sadness with having to leave the city.
Michael said the loss of the college to Ontario is not of great concern, however, considering the new location's close proximity to the city.
"The whole region will benefit regardless whether SJVC is in Rancho Cucamonga or Ontario," he said.
"While we might have lost a college, there have been many other instances where businesses have left Ontario and have gone to Rancho Cucamonga ... You're always disappointed to see something like this leave your community and you would like to be able to keep them, but we have a strong program to attract businesses."
Michael said the less cities work to compete against one another for business, the better off they are.
"Let the business decide," he said.
Courses at San Joaquin Valley College include business administration, dental hygiene, pharmacy technology, respiratory therapy, pharmacy technology and heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration industrial technology.
For more information, visit sjvc.edu.
Reach Neil via email, call him at 909-483-9356, or find him on Twitter @InlandGov.