South Puget Sound Community College’s latest project is the construction of a new building. Featuring a one-stop student service center, plenty of hang-out space, and the campus library, the currently in-construction Building 22 is on its way to being a hub for student activity. It’s estimated date of completion is still up in the air, however, it will possibly be done by the end of summer.
Craig Miller, the assistant capital project manager of SPSCC, gave an impressive tour through the still-in-progress building. The downstairs consists of media rooms, offices, the library, and the computer lab.
To top that off, it has a long, wide corridor that was designed with the intention of a free and open space for students to relax, study, and socialize in. This long corridor goes throughout the length of the building and has identical North and South entrances that are 100 percent glass.
Why glass, you ask? Not only does the glass add aesthetic appeal to the building but it also offers plenty of natural light and sustainability.
Upstairs is a “one-stop-shop,” said Miller, so students will be able to have everything they need in one place whether there needs be counseling, financial services, etc. Additionally, the upstairs offers a view of most of the downstairs, including the library and computer lab.
However, the progressing construction of Building 22 is not without complications. According to, Penny Koal, dean for facilities planning and operations at SPSCC, hidden conditions, which are problems that aren’t obvious in the initial drawings, have pushed back the project’s estimated date of completion time.
Reportedly, the extra funding these hidden conditions require is quickly draining the contingency fund. Yet through all of this, Koal remains optimistic that the allotted budget will be enough to cover the total construction costs.
She said that she might have to tap into certain pockets of the construction budget and move money around. If it comes to that, Koal said she plans on reducing the furniture budget and postponing some of the equipment purchases. Her reasoning is that construction must be funded now because once it’s done, it’s done; but furniture and equipment can always be bought on a later date.
Supposedly, there isn’t anything unusual to worry about. Especially, as Koal said, because hidden conditions and setbacks are a normal part of any renovation project.
While the weather and hidden conditions have pushed the project’s estimated completion date further into the summer, a huge milestone was passed Dec. 14. With the completion of the roof, one of the big to-do’s in the project’s culmination can be crossed off, 95 percent of the framing is done as well. The first week of 2013 marked the week that the building passed its electrical and plumbing inspection. The next milestone to pass is insulation and dry walling.
But even with setbacks we’re lucky to have the funds to renovate this building at all. Supposedly, the state has really cut back on capital spending, which includes new buildings.
In the past, 10-12 new community college buildings would be funded at a time. But recently this number has cut in half.
“This posed a huge time constraint,” said Miller, “if [the college] hadn’t moved ahead fast enough, they wouldn’t have had the funds for this project.” Koal added, “It’s going to be a while before the college gets any more new buildings.”