Garfield Moves Ahead With $20 Million Upgrade

Cindy Garcia

The college is moving ahead with a $20 million construction project to replace old facilities on the Garfield campus despite what the administration has called an economic crisis.

The construction project will consist of a new three-story classroom building, 15 classrooms covering 40,000 square feet, a community room, a courtyard plaza, a book store, computer labs and a student services center.

The state budget crisis has affected both campuses. Thirty percent of winter classes have been cut and some of the main campus library databases will be discontinued. But the money available for the Garfield campus cannot be used for other purposes.

A portion of the money from the Measure G bond, which passed with 65 percent of the vote, was designated in March 2002 for the Garfield construction project, said Alfred Ramirez, associate dean of the Garfield Campus.

“We were allocated $20 million and it all comes from the Measure G bond,” said Karen Holden-Ferkich, associate vice president of continuing and community education. “That money can only be spent on facility projects or projects that the voters of Glendale agreed to when we passed the bond.”

Holden-Ferkich said that the new building will replace the old bungalows and the rental space the college has at Chevy Chase Baptist Church.

She also said that the classrooms are in “very substandard condition” since they “are very old and falling apart.” These classrooms lack the technological tools such as computers and projectors, since they were built in the 1920s as apartments and were converted into classrooms 20 years ago.

“Our students deserve to have the very best facilities possible,” she said. “All of our students at Glendale College should have access to good-quality classrooms.”

The parking lot will have 181 parking spaces and eight of those spaces will be designated for hybrid vehicles and car pooling. The lot will also have 45 additional spaces for bicycles.

The architect in charge of the building design, Michael Rachlin, said that he was inspired by the architecture of the main campus. His goal was to bring the two campuses together in order to have a “traditional and monumental” feeling that is found in Spanish-style architecture.

“We were trying to recreate the feeling on the main campus where they have a strong Spanish feeling,” Rachlin said. “With this new building, the courtyard plaza, and the entrance arches, you’ll get the feeling that it relates to the main campus.”

According to Rachlin, the current Garfield campus lacks a “pedestrian friendly space.” He designed a new entrance as a courtyard with a series of palm trees in a circle shape that “creates a sense of intimacy.”

“A nice feature about the project is that between the two buildings, we will have a very large courtyard,” said Rachlin. “It will be a pedestrian courtyard with tables and benches, which can be sort of a public gathering space.”

The new building will be connected with the existing building, with two bridges on the second and third floor. The existing building will also be painted, since it has not been painted since 1999. This alone will cost $75,000.

The building will not only meet the needs of the community, but also environmental needs. The building will be certificated by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.

“We are going [through] rigorous guidelines from [the] LEED program to provide eco-friendly and sustainable building materials,” said Rachlin. “We are also recycling all the used materials that we can.”

The new buildings at the Garfield Campus will be ready for use in the fall of 2011. The recently opened Parent Support Center is the first stage of the project.

The Garfield campus serves about 15,000 students with classes in English as a second language, computer software and citizenship. It offers vocational degrees and high school diplomas.

For questions and comments about the construction project, contact Karen Holden-Ferkich at (818) 240- 1000, ext 5010 or
e-mail at [email protected]