Construction projects prioritized

The completion of campus construction projects was prioritized during a Pierce College Council (PCC) meeting Nov. 17.


The decision to alter construction plans was made after new cost projections from the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) showed the reconstruction plans to be over budget.


The cost of maintenance may also be higher than expected further jeopardizing construction projects.


The PCC prioritized the buildings to be completed in the following order: Automobile Technology, Horticulture, Digital Arts and Media and Green Technology.


This recommendation was then sent to Pierce College President Kathleen Burke-Kelly, who then make the final decision.


“Time is money with these projects,” said Joy McCaslin, vice president of Student Services. “It extends the time of how long we will have the management company here and there is a big risk in attempting a redesign.”


Phase 1 of the North of Mall project, completed last year, was only half of the reconstruction. Phase 2 of The North of Mall project still needs to be bid on.


Final budget figures for construction will be released by Chancellor Daniel LaVista as soon as they are completed


PCC members argued that making decisions based on money would be pointless since they have no idea how much smaller the budget may become.


“This is a delicate chess game because we’re dealing with an unknown from the district downtown,” said Ed Cadena, project deputy director of the Swinerton Management Team.


During the meeting, each faculty member defended the need to complete their own department’s buildings.


The Digital Arts and Media building was meant to solve the campus’s lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


The ADA requires that all public complexes provide access to all areas for persons with disabilities.


The Digital Arts and Media building was designed to include many different departments but it would also include ramps and elevators to provide access to the top of the Art hill for disabled persons.


However, it was also argued during the meeting, that these ramps and elevators could be completed independently of the building, thereby costing less money.


Tom Rosdahl, instructor of automotive service technology, argued that the automotive expansion project was already bid and ready to start.


Rosdahl said that to redesign or postpone the project would be a waist of the nearly $1 million dollars already spent.


Meanwhile, advocates for the Green Technology Building argued that “green” tech would bring in the most money in enrollment fees since most new jobs will be green jobs.


“We don’t want to pit one building against the other,” said Clark.


The PCC hosted a special meeting a week before the vote to gather information on the state of each department in development and discuss possible remedies on how to allocate the remaining budget.


“We need to stop designing like we are an Ivy League school,” said Director of Facilities Paul Nieman. “We are a community college.”


Contributing:  Kevin Reynolds


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