Level 2 gets a facelift

A work in progress on the second floor of the College Complex is nearing completion. Workers were literally tying up loose ends, with utility carts, ladders in tow and final revisions of architectural plans in hand.

Nine newly remolded classrooms are visible, and excited chatter from students passing by can be heard as they try to catch a glimpse of the rooms to get a visual of what’s in store.

Most of the classroom renovations were done after hours so as not to inconvenience the college community.

Work in the College Complex began in early February with construction crews working at night from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. to avoid disrupting classes. The plan must have worked well as students randomly polled responded that they had not been bothered by the construction.

“I really hadn’t noticed any changes and was shocked to see the new classrooms,” said one. 

“I think the new construction looks great!” added another.

Student Jimmy Darling, who has attended other colleges in the district as well as LMC, was impressed with the changes.

“Viewing LMC as a whole, I really like the way the campus looks now,” said Darling.

The renovations include nine new classrooms, two of which are designated for computer labs.  The LMC faculty will enjoy the eight new office spaces and two new conference rooms as well.

State-of-the-art technology was at the forefront of the master plans for the renovations.

Ben Azarnoush, district design director for the Contra Costa Community College District, oversees construction projects from initial programming through construction and post-occupancy and explained the “change have been designed to project a welcoming environment.”

“The remodeled classrooms offer so many new technological advancements,” he said, highlighting the mechanical aspects — better air and lighting — that the average person often overlooks.

“Being environmentally friendly was a huge concern that was addressed in the initial stages of planning,” he added.

Among the changes in the new classrooms are zoned lighting and access to interactive technology. The ability for instructors to control the lighting “is crucial in today’s classrooms,” Azarnoush said, as well as the opportunity for instructors and students to plug their laptops into the projection systems “for more hands-on experiences.”

While most students and teachers will have to wait until spring to get into these remolded classrooms, the biggest inconvenience for many now is finding a restroom on the second floor.

The two restrooms on the second floor of the College Complex are being upgraded with a new design to bring them up to federal specifications called for by the called for by the American with Disabilities Act.

“The problem with the restrooms is that they are not wide enough,” said Mike Gutierrez, project superintendent.

Because there are only two restrooms on the floor, they are renovating them one at a time. Officials expect the first restroom to be completed by the middle of October. The second one will begin once the first one is finished. 

The second floor-remodeling project is funded with money from the $127.5 million in bonds approved by taxpayers with the passage of Measures A and E and to update facilities in the Contra Costa Community College District. 

“Our facilities have an impact on the success of our students and the quality of our working environment,” said LMC Vice President Kevin Horan, who has been overseeing this project from inception to fruition. The entire remodel is expected to be completed by January 2018.