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College Center begins final phase of bond improvements

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The final phase of bond improvements at the College Center begins July 2017.

The final phase of bond improvements at the College Center begins July 2017.

The finish line is in sight for the PCC Sylvania’s biggest capital construction project: upgrading the heart and hub of the campus, Amo DeBernadis College Center.

PCC is investing $64.6 million from the 2008 voter-approved bond measure to make improvements at its largest campus. Seventy-five percent of Sylvania’s funds are for the CC building.

The work has been done in several phases to allow faculty, staff and students to move into swing space as needed in order to complete the upgrades. According to project manager Gary Sutton, the careful planning has encouraged efficiency and minimized the need for changes mid-stream, thus helping to reduce overall costs.

“The CC building has been a challenging but also very rewarding project,” he said. “From a construction standpoint, it has been difficult at times to work in an occupied building, performing various activities while still allowing the college to perform daily operations with minimal impacts.”

In the CC, as throughout the campus, the major goals of the bond program have been to enhance the student experience while improving ADA accessibility, seismic safety and environmental aspects of the Sylvania Campus. In the CC, this work included removing stairs, columns and other obstacles, and adding an elevator to the building’s north end as well as extended ramps. The result is that students can now more easily make their way from the south end of the campus to the north end.

Sutton said safety is at the forefront of the bond improvements.

“The safety component is crucial to ensure that the CC meets all necessary codes and compliances,” he said. “This approach has applied to all bond work, as well as projects that haven’t been part of the initial construction plans.” These additional projects, he noted, were made possible in part by the efficiencies achieved with the initial bond work.

Improvement Rundown
  • A complete upgrade to the egress and travel. The elimination of stairs, walls and other obstacles in the mall areas have created a safe and ADA-acceptable path through — and from all sides — of the building.
  • Seismic upgrades. Thirteen new Buckle Resistant Braces will be installed upon completion of all phases within the CC building.
  • Multiple environmental upgrades.  These improvements are designed to lower energy costs and reduce the college’s carbon footprint. In the CC they have included new air handling equipment, high-efficiency light fixtures and vestibules at the four ends of the building.
  • Multiple security upgrades. This work has included the addition of cameras, card readers and duress buttons.
  • Relocation of key services. By moving Tutoring from the CC into the Library, the college created the space to move other key student services into the building along its “main street” (Disability Services, International Education and Queer Resource Center), thereby giving them a much stronger presence on campus.
  • New and larger spaces for student-focused programs. Improved spaces have already been created for the Jobs/Internships Center, and Career Resource Center. Still to come are the build outs for the Veterans, Multicultural, Women’s and Queer Resource Centers, as well for student government (ASPCC).
  • A new East Entry. The construction of a new enclosed atrium provided more usable indoor space for activities, created a “front door” to the campus, and provided shelter for the Welcome Pole, Sylvania Campus’ iconic totem.
  • Enhanced lighting. The need for more natural daylight has been a consistently voiced request. To meet this request, two new skylights were installed in the upper mall, giving the building a more inviting feel.
  • Office of the President and district services renovated: Renovation to the Office of the President and space for several ancillary district services — College Advancement (which includes the PCC Foundation, Community Relations/Public Relations, Government Relations and Strategic Communications/Marketing) and new administrators — was completed. Construction also included the creation of space for public meetings, such as the monthly board meeting, as well as internal college division and departmental meetings.
  • CC’s first student lounge: When the final phase of bond work is complete, the building will at last have its first student lounge, an inviting and functional space where students can rest between classes, study or visit with fellow students.

The CC’s bond improvements, which have been designed by GBD Architects and constructed by Howard S. Wright, should be completed by May 2018. But for campus President Lisa Avery, the changes already have made a significant impact on Sylvania’s community of students, faculty and staff.

“The CC Building is the heart of the Sylvania Campus, and we wanted it to reflect the services that students need outside of the classroom,” said Avery. “That’s why I am thrilled with the direction of the building and the student-facing services that will be easily accessible to all of our students. We are here to serve our students and I think the new upgrades will make the College Center a better resource for them, while also creating a more welcoming campus environment.”