Adapting to obstruction
Students forced to find alternate routes
The construction zone where the Student Activities Building, Amphitheatre and quad once stood is making it difficult for students to get from one side of campus to the other. The SA Building was demolished in early January, and the Amphitheatre and quad were dug out, but workers left a palm tree standing amid the construction. A new Campus Center will rise in the area soon, but is not due to be completed until fall 2016. Lorenzo Morotti / The Advocate
With construction taking place right in the middle of the campus, students find themselves having to adapt to the new foot paths to get around from class to class.
Biology major Chris Moratay said, "Instead of just walking through the quad to get to the Biology Building, I had to walk all the way up (Campus Drive) to get to class."
The approximately $52 million construction of the new three-story classroom building and student activities building, or Campus Center, began with the demolition of the 57-year-old Student Activities Building during winter break, before the spring semester began.
There are two main ways for students walking from either end of the campus to get to their destination.
The first path takes students between the Student Services Plaza and the Computer Technology Center. It goes across the footbridge and along a newly constructed pavement walkway behind where the Humanities Building stood (prior to its demolition), up to the Biology and Physical Sciences buildings. There is a wooden staircase on this pathway that restricts this walkway from being used by people in wheelchairs.
The other walkway will travel from the Student Services Plaza across the footbridge to the parking lots that lead to the Physical Education Complex, and then back across the car bridge to Library Drive, which leads students to the other side of the college by the temporary Bookstore and Subway truck.
There are plans to make the sidewalk that runs along Library Drive wider by putting in place orange k-rails that will widen the sidewalk by up to 3 feet for students.
The discussion of cyclone fences being put up on Library Drive to give students more room to walk without being in the street was the initial plan. After discussion, the construction team decided to go with k-rails similar to the ones already in place in front of the Bookstore and Subway truck, Senior Dean of Instruction Donna Floyd said.
The safety of students traveling from class-to-class on Library Drive is the top concern of the college, President Denise Noldon said.
"We want to maintain the two-way road usage for cars to be able to go both ways, so we decided on the k-rail idea to maintain the road while widening the walkway for students," Dr. Noldon said.
Construction began in November when fences were put up blocking off the construction area located between the Library and the Student Services Center.
On Jan. 27, Lathrop Construction Associates, Inc. began to demolish the 60-year-old Humanities Building.
Removing asbestos from the buildings and disposing of it properly took about a month, Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.
Once demolition of both the Student Activities and Humanities buildings is complete, Lathrop Construction Associates, Inc. will then level the surrounding ground.
"They will have to grade the land to make sure everything is balanced," King said.
Once the foundation of the buildings are in place, Lathrop Construction Associates, Inc. will begin to place utility lines from electrical, gas and water lines. From there they will then be able to finish with the construction of the new buildings, he said.
There are weekly construction meetings Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the AA Building Conference Room where Lathrop Construction Associates, Inc. workers and college officials discuss different issues and topics that relate to the construction on campus.
Lathrop publishes a weekly calendar that is available at every meeting.
"It's just a way we can keep in touch on issues and stay relevant with each other," King said.
Lathrop has also installed two cameras on top of the Library and the Physical Sciences Building to watch the progress of the demolition and construction of the Campus Center project, King said.
"We (the college) got the idea for the news site and cameras since they have the same thing in place at our two sister colleges, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos colleges," Floyd said.
The camera feed for the two cameras is available to watch on Contra Costa College's website at www.contracosta.edu in the construction news link that will bring up the college's construction news site that has maps of the student pathways made around campus, as well as all ADA compliant pathways for students with mobility disabilities.
The construction team that meets at the weekly meetings came up with the idea to have a website that students could go to for information.
Due to the construction, the college has closed down Lots 5, 7 and 8 to store construction equipment.
Parking at CCC is already hard to come by, with students often competing for parking spaces in order to get to class.
"Parking has been a pain this semester," business major Jessica Kahn said. "You have to leave your house earlier than in previous semesters just to make sure you have a parking space."
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