Completion of science lab delayed a year

Joseph Delano

The Brentwood Center’s new Biology/Physics lab, which was slated to open in 2013, has been delayed because the property that is to be used is on land leased from Brentwood.

“The lab project was originally projected to be completed this Summer for the Fall 2013 semester,” said Director, Title II HSI STEM Grant Ryan Pedersen but, “we encountered an issue concerning the construction of a college facility on property that is leased from the city of Brentwood… it has caused a delay in the project.”

The lab is now expected to be open in either Spring or Fall of 2014 pending approval from the Division of the State Architect. The DSA is the government entity that oversees the construction of K-12 schools as well as community colleges.

The lab is being funded by a $4.25 million HSI Grant that was awarded to LMC in 2011.

The grant, entitled STEM Transfer Velocidad, was awarded to LMC in 2011 as part of the Hispanic Serving Institution Grant program, and focuses on Science, technology, engineering and Mathematics.

To qualify for an HSI grant, at least a 25 percent of an institution’s student body must be Hispanic. LMC crossed that mark in 2005, said Rosa Armendariz, project director for the HSI grant, adding that LMC’s enrollment is now 32 percent Hispanic.

The goal of the STEM grant is to improve the transfer rate of students at LMC.

“There is not the capability for a full lab experience currently at the Brentwood campus, said Pedersen.

By building the lab, LMC can offer additional Biology courses — including: BIOSC-020 Principles of Biology: Cellular Processes, and BIOSC-021 Principles of Biology: Organismal — at the Brentwood Campus, said Jancy Rickman, co-chair of the Science Department.

Offering these classes will allow students to complete the Biological Science degree requirements without having to commute to Pittsburg.

The lab will be constructed at the current location in Brentwood. There will also be a need for the college to lease more space on location for the expansion.

“We are very excited,” said Professor of Biological Sciences Sharon Wellbrook, adding that Danielle Liubicich, also co-chair of the science department and professor of Biological Sciences, will be posted at the Brentwood campus to teach the new courses.

“With the departure of Liubicich from the main campus, the department will request a new hire to fill her spot,” said Rickman.

Information on the STEM grant can be found at http://www.losmedanos.edu/advance/GrantsManagement.asp, the Grant Management homepage of the Los Medanos College Website. Click on the link titled STEM Project Narrative.

Any questions about the lab and/or the delay can be answered by Ryan Pedersen who can be reached at rpedersen@losmedanos.edu.