An expanded resource center for veterans and a completely renovated building for studies in science, math and engineering (SEM) at Cypress College in North California exemplify efforts to strengthen the community college experience.
Reimagining and Rebuilding
Public funds are being committed across the country to make community colleges more modern, welcoming and integral to education and employment possibilities in their regions. For example, two projects recently completed by general contractor Sundt Construction at Cypress College were made possible via a budget measure passed by voters in California’s Orange County several years ago. Reporting on the work, School Construction News shares:
Expansion at the VRC added 12,000 square feet to the existing building. The new construction entails areas specifically dedicated to student veterans’ services. Furthermore, additions included an outdoor plaza, veterans memorial bridge as well as a “tribute garden.” Inside the same building, the former student activities center was retrofitted to make it more usable for modern instruction.
The $80 million SEM building was constructed because Cypress’s former science building was considered obsolete. Accordingly, the new SEM center is a state-of-the-art facility entailing 23 laboratory classrooms, 21 lecture halls, office space and administration space.
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Welcoming The New
While cultural institutions are giving fresh perspective to the spaces that hold our collective stories, college campuses are busy constructing modern learning and wellness hubs–and new life science buildings too. The need for more and better labs and research facilities was underscored by the pandemic, and construction is going strong. Construction Dive reports, for example, that New York City is growing into one of the premier science hubs in the U.S, competing with Cambridge, Massachusetts, and San Diego California for new life science facilities, academic institutions and medical centers.
New York Construction Report shares that building is underway on Hofstra University’s $75 million Science and Innovation Center in Hempstead, Long Island. Meanwhile, Skanska has a $448 million contract with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to construct a massive new public health lab in Harlem. Replacing an outdated lab further downtown, the new structure will include five lab floors, five administrative floors, an auditorium and a training lab.
As industry experts point out, vacancy rates for existing life science buildings have been virtually zero. Given the particular standards involved in constructing facilities that study and use chemicals, it is often more realistic to build new facilities than retrofit older or empty buildings. Ventilation, fireproofing and emergency power generators are all high on the required list.
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