Classrooms refurbished

Theresa Wray / Roundup

During the winter session at Pierce College, when the majority of students are away on break, most classrooms are dark and silent.

But this winter, 30 classrooms in the English, science and math buildings will be filled with the sound of drills and the smell of paint as contractors perform the first interior face-lift in more than 40 years. The ICT infrastructure will also see an upgrade, allowing students to have access to secure controlled WIFI and the installation of policypak application manager to tighten down on computer usage

“These buildings were well-seasoned before I got here,” said Pierce President Robert Garber who worked at the college from 1977 to 1996, then returned as president in February. “I wanted to spiff up the classrooms a little bit as a gesture to the faculty for all their hard work.”

The L.A. Community College District board of trustees will meet on Dec. 13 to review contractor bids for the renovation of the social science 1100, English 1200, behavioral science 1300 and math 1400 buildings.

The $250,000 project, which is scheduled for Jan. 2 to 23, will be funded directly from the school budget without using Proposition A/AA dollars.

The interior improvements will include new paint, removal of old fixtures, installation of white boards, new Window Blinds, lockable message boards on classroom doors and installation of high-quality projection screens.

“The bidding process began in October,” said Paul Nieman, director of facilities. “We’ll submit our contractor bids to the board for review on Nov. 13, a month before their meeting. The lowest, most responsible bidder is usually selected.”

According to Charlotte Doctor, acting dean of academic affairs all scheduled classes during this time will be housed in other areas of the campus such as the business building and bungalows.

“It doesn’t bother me if I have to take a class in one of the bungalows,” said Erin McCaslin, an English major.

“It’s worth it. It will feel less like grade school and more like a real college once the classrooms are updated.”

Since Pierce was founded in 1947, there have been few renovations. The first exterior paint job occurred in 2000 when contractors covered the original gray fa├žade with a brighter, off-white color.

Although some interior painting was done in the early ’80s, the window blinds and blackboards have not been updated in any of the classrooms since the 1960s. They are now all very dated, and the window blinds let in very little natural light. Natural light is known to help to increase productivity, as well as elevating your mood and even improving mental health, so the team at Pierce College is keen to replace them. They have researched new blinds that give plenty of privacy but also allow lots of natural light online and liked those from hunter douglas denver. The blinds and blackboards are expected to be changed very soon.

“I’m particularly happy about getting the new blackboards,” said Professor James Rikel, chair of the life science department.

“The old blackboards don’t even clean up anymore. They are very difficult to use.”

According to Garber, a portion of the $2.25-billion Proposition A/AA money is currently being used to construct the new science and student services buildings, which will be completed in 2009.

The classroom improvements were scheduled to occur after the new buildings were constructed. “That’s too long for our faculty to wait,” said Garber.

“The work we’re doing under the bond money takes time and with the rising costs of materials, you never know how schedules may be impacted.”

Philosophy Professor Larry Andre, chair of the Pierce College Council (PCC), agrees that the overall clean up ought to happen now as opposed to later.

“Since Garber has been our president, he has taken the initiative to make positive changes to our campus,” said Andre.

“He began working with the PCC, senate and other departmental council to make sure these much-needed classroom renovations would happen.”

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