Giving Pierce a fresh face

Liat Nosrati

When the Los Angeles Community College District did not get enough money for construction under Proposition A in 2001, they sought out for more.The district went out to the voters with Proposition AA in 2003 and received another $980 million for the bond construction program. LACCD board members will be briefed on a possible third bond today.A grand total of approximately $2.2 billion was given to the LACCD, which includes Pierce College and eight other colleges. Pierce was given $166 million in bonds under Proposition A and $106.5 million under Proposition AA.These voter-approved dollars are being used to refurbish Pierce and bring it into the 21st century. There are many new facilities that will grace the grounds of Pierce by the end of 2010.The old bookstore renovation, scheduled for completion by the end of this month, will be called the Student Community Center. The new Student Services Building is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2009. Also, the new Center for the Sciences, which will cost about $40.2 million to build, is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009.Other construction projects at Pierce that are currently in the designing phase include the Administration Building, all the buildings forming the quadrangle around the new S. Mark Taper Foundation Botanical Garden, the Physics Building, the Chemistry Building and the existing Campus Center. These buildings should be completed by the fall of 2010.Andrew Ramsay, senior project manager for Swinerton, the management company in charge of the A/AA bond project, said, “I am happy to be able to report that work in the various phases is generally proceeding on schedule.”As for now, the projects are on schedule, but future weather conditions may change that. In order to stay within budget, certain cutbacks, like the building of a new technology building, had to be made.Although these new facilities will bring a modern element to a 60-year-old school, some Pierce students may not appreciate the inconvenience caused by the construction. Brittny Wilson, a 19-year-old child development major, admitted that she is excited to see the final outcome of the construction projects. However, when it comes to dealing with the construction going on at the school she said, “I think it’s really annoying.”Robert Garber, Pierce College president, emphasized, “There are challenges and frustrations, but at the same time, we haven’t had to cancel any classes. Nobody’s been hurt and we haven’t disrupted classes.” Garber also explained that the renovation can be a difficult process. “We are absolutely committed to doing this to benefit students and the college,” he said.Nevertheless, Garber is not the only one who is excited about the new renovations. Students do see that there are challenges to the construction projects, but remain eager to see Pierce’s new look. “I think it’s a good sign of progress that Pierce is finally taking a big step in improving the campus and the facilities for their students,” said Christopher Ramirez, a 22-year-old political science major.Garber also expressed that progression is not an easy task, but the college is doing its best to meet students’ needs while ultimately rebuilding the school.”What we’ve really tried to do is keep everything moving forward without interfering with our ability to do what we do here, which is teach classes,” said Garber.