Remodel in full ‘swing’

Project to be completed by summer


Beatriz Hernandez

Constructors with W.A. Thomas Company work to renovate the old swing space on the second level of the College Complex.

From the moment the clock strikes 10 p.m. and most other community members are either preparing for bed or cramming for an exam, W.A. Thomas Company employees and constructors are coming into work on the swing space on Level Two of the college complex.

According to the official project description located on the Los Medanos College website, the project has a budget of $4,300,000 and is funded by Measure A, Measure E and the Redevelopment Agency Fund.

On opening day Friday, Jan. 20, Vice President Kevin Horan gave a facilities update where he discussed plans for this project and future plans.

“Our facilities have an impact on the success of our students and the quality of our working environment,” said Horan. “This has been a long time coming.”

The project will take the swing space on in the College Complex and do a complete remodel to the Business Department creating nine new classrooms, two of which with the ability to be computer labs, eight faculty offices and two conference rooms.

Construction began in early February and will continue to run through July 2017.

“We’re here every night 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. as to not interrupt the school session,” said Superintendent of the project Mike Gutierrez

As workers walk in and out of the construction zone you can see partially torn down walls and hear the sound of power tools ringing in your ears.

Gutierrez explained that in addition to providing safety for the workers, the hardhats and orange and green vests they wear also alert other members of the campus community as to who is and is not associated with the project if they are not wearing those colors.

While classrooms and offices are being rebuilt, all four bathrooms located on that level are also being renovated with a new design and better ADA accessibility in mind.

 “Before some walkways weren’t wide enough. [Now,] they’ll be more handicap friendly and they’ll be up to code,” said Gutierrez.

According to an email sent to all LMC employees, the Contra Costa Community College District Chief Facilities Planner, one wrench thrown into the project is the asbestos found in the certain sections, deriving from materials used prior to the 1980s, where the construction is taking place.

“As long as these materials are not disturbed, there is little to no potential health hazard for our students and employees,” said Pyle.

Those areas have now been blocked off during construction.

“The District is committed to a policy of safely and effectively managing asbestos on campus,” said Pyle. “If our project plans to disturb any of these materials, qualified abatement firms and abatement inspectors will be hired to comply with all laws and regulations regarding working with, and monitoring the work on, hazardous materials.”

Other projects set for future construction include the Campus Safety Building, PE complex and Student Union, the new Brentwood Center and renovation to the Little Theater roof, which according to Buildings and Grounds Facilitator Russ Holt should be taking place this semester when the weather clears up.