Digital arts and media building construction project to be defunded

The Faculty Advisory Committee voted April 18 a recommendation to defund the proposed $32 million Digital Arts and Media Building, planned to be built where the old library stands, due to it being the lowest priority construction project, according to Project Manager Ed Cadena.

Director of Facilities Paul Nieman said at Pierce College Council on April 28 that due to unforeseen escalation and unstable pleasantry of the construction, the amount of funds that are available to build a Digital Media Arts project would greatly reduce the amount of square footage. Therefore, the recommendation is that the project be refunded.

Nieman said that it’s important to remember that if Board of Trustees decide to vote to move forward that the Digital Media Arts project will be one of the projects from this college on their minds.

Cadena said the project is $5 million over budget at PCC on Feb. 25. At PCC April 28 Cadena made a general statement that money for construction is not going as far as it used to and it costs more to do projects with rising costs.

The FAC recommended allocating $4 million dollars to make improvements to the Art and Media Arts departments, according to Connelly.

Media Arts is currently scattered across campus. Most of their facilities are in trailers in The Village. The digital darkroom, a lab used for the production and editing of visual content has been located in a trailer in The Village for the past 9 years.

Media Arts Department Chair Jill Connelly said priorities for her department include improving the photography studio and having the radio station in the same room as the lab. With the current setup it is challenging for professors to supervise and instruct students in the radio because it is in a separate building from where the class is taught, according to Connelly

“Our current studio facilities are totally inadequate,” Connelly said. “We use cabinets as a wall.”

Connelly said students working on computers in the lab complained about flashes from the cameras distracting them, so they hung curtains to divide the room.

Sean McDonald, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Photography, said the department needs a sound proof photo studio with 14-18 foot ceilings that is full functioning for both video and photography.

““We are just beyond frustrated with where we have gotten to with what is going on,” McDonald said.

There is not adequate space to store all of the equipment, according to Mcdonald.

“It’s as neatly organized as possible given the space constraints,” McDonald said.

Los Angeles Valley College and Los Angeles Mission College are both getting new Media Arts buildings, according to Connelly.

“We are at the point where a lot of our high schools have gotten grants and upgraded their facilities, so students are going to have better facilities at their high schools,” Connelly said.

McDonald said ideally Media Arts will be able to build their building. Plan B would be to renovate the old library. Plan C is to move into building 8200 after North of Mall is complete.

At PCC April 28 Cadena said that North of Mall will be substantially completed in the middle of May.

“If you have been peering over the fence, you can see things are looking a lot better,” Cadena said. “The Insides of the buildings are moving along as well.”

Construction on building 800 was halted due to led and mercury contamination. Cadena said the amount of contaminants is “smaller than larger.” The removal is scheduled to begin in the third week of May.

“We will know where we are at once the contractor initiates that remediation removal of those contaminants,” Cadena said.

Instead of Building 800 being opened for the fall of 2016 it looks like spring of 2017 is a more likely date to shoot for, according to Cadena.