Old Building receives new life on shortened budget

Only 85 percent of the money originally requested was given to South Puget Sound Community College for the renovation of building 22, according to the most recent capital budget passed by the Washington state legislature. Therefore minor changes to the design were needed and have already been reworked.

“Our total project budget was $38,867,177 and it was reduced to $30,196,000,” said Gerald Pumphrey, president of SPSCC.

The bidding of the project has recently been moved from the estimated January time frame to starting right away. The renovation project was originally scheduled to happen two years ago. Funding has been granted to the 2011-2013 biennium, and the bidding process has been advanced to ensure that the project is completed in this biennium. Biennium is the term for a two year period.

Each contractor sends their estimates of how much it will cost for them to do the job for the college. All the bids are then reviewed and the contractor with the lowest bid will win the project.

Even though the budget for building 22’s renovation went through, this does not mean that SPSCC’s financial issues are improving. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges has declared a state of emergency.

“The state has different buckets that they put money in,” said Penny Koal, the facilities director at SPSCC. There are separate funds for teachers, buildings, and other expenses.

According to Koal, money from one fund cannot be used for another.

“The state has three budgets that are appropriated by the legislature and signed by the Governor; [o]perating, [c]apital, and [t]ransportation,” said Pumphrey. Money for projects such as building renovation come from the capital budget.

“All the major ideas of the project are intact,” said Koal. She is confident that the renovation is crucial to updating SPSCC facilities to make the campus a lot more efficient. Included in the new building 22 will be student services, financial aid, diversity and equity, a testing center, a counseling center, and a new “state of the art library,” she said.

According to Koal, features of the newly relocated library will include many windows, plenty of natural lighting, spacious shelving, silent study areas, and more work space for librarians.

The overall idea of the newly designed library is to give students a better learning environment, where they can actually use their library resources to significantly further their education.

Student service facilities are expected to be far more efficient as well. This includes enrollment, financial aid, and everything else now located in building 25.

The design includes a one-stop desk where students and visitors can have all their questions answered.

Having one center for questions will give workers a chance to better facilitate all the steps a student needs to perform in order to set up their education.

Landscaping around the building will not be as nice as originally planned. Similar small details were altered or negated in order to preserve the central ideas of the project with the reduced budget.

In preparation for the renovation, alder trees are being cut down near building 26, which started on October 12. The tree trunks will be donated to a charity that will recycle them.