New One-Stop Facility to Open November 2015

Moises Torres, Staff Writer

With a career center, a student lounge, open labs with the latest computers, and a new culinary arts kitchen — the new Lab/College Services building will be a one-stop shop.

When the new building is completed in 2015, it will house a journalism lab, speech and ESL classes, classrooms, student services and the admission and records departments, making financial aid and dealing with registration much easier.

The first floor will contain the creative writing lab, computer lab services, and the Disabled Student Programs and Services offices. The second floor will house two anthropology labs, the classrooms and the culinary department with fully staffed kitchens and offices. The third floor will hold the Admission and Records office, the Career Center, Extended Opportunities Programs and Services, the Assessment Center and the Financial Aid office.

With heavy-duty pile-driving equipment, tie-rod installers, dirt removal trucks and heavy excavating, it is evident the new building project is moving forward. With an estimated budget and a firm schedule, things are on track, according to Nelson Oliveira, director of facilities for GCC.

Oliveira said the total budget of the project is estimated at $34.7 million, about $195,000 more than planned due to water complications, the retaining wall and the addition of building foundation costs. The board of trustees approved the contract price increase and has granted a 14-day time extension to cover additional costs and delays caused by the groundwater.

In the month of November, groundwater was found during the shoring pile process, which pushed GCC to proceed with removal of water services. Water was also removed for installation of new concrete structural columns located within the building footprint.

“Water was encountered in the shoring pile, water has been managed, and piles completed,” Aldridge said in an e-mail interview.

Costs for groundwater management reached $180,000. Aldridge said they have a $2 million contingency for these kinds of problems.

Workers also ran into a previous drainage system that caused gravel problems. To make sure the ground is compact and safe, they reworked the foundation.

Faced with water problems, construction was pushed 35 days behind schedule said Oliveira. The board of trustees will evaluate and adjust the contract for unforeseen groundwater conditions.

The original project’s estimated completion time was late August of 2015, but with the complications and delays in construction, completion of the project was pushed to early November 2015.

February saw more progress. It consisted of installing underground utilities, continuing the “legging,”, and “benching,” which is strengthening of the foundation. Strengthening on the North End building foundation and rough grading which is leveling of the ground, also took place.

January was a busy month as workers reinforced the retaining wall. They also created measures to ensure safety while they installed utilities and prepared the soil for foundation.

The development of fire water and domestic utilities dominated the work in December.

“I think the building is going to accommodate more students which is always a plus. I can’t wait to see what the building will include inside,” said Jacqueline Ayala, an accounting major.