Campus Center shutting doors

Jon Marx and Jon Marx

The Campus Center will close for renovations in 2011, forcing many programs residing in the building to temporarily relocate to other parts of campus, although some may not even have that luxury.

The estimated $4.8 million construction project is tentatively set to begin in May 2011 and could likely last until the following spring.

The construction will pose problems for the Culinary Program, since there are no extra kitchens. This may lead to the cancelling of certain classes or labs for a semester or more, since there will be no space for them.

Culinary Arts student Ashley Puhl, 20, sees this as a detriment to the program.

“It’s just going to stress out students and staff way more than they already are,” she said. “It’s going to suck for future culinary students. They’re going to have a very hard time.”

Many programs in the Campus Center will be moved into other areas around campus that could temporarily fit the programs, called “swing space.” However, a problem the college will face will be fitting all the programs into the amount of swing space available.

“The issue is going to be that between the two buildings, Humanities and the Campus Center, we’ve got 42,500 [feet] of classroom and offices and lab space,” said Joe Sullivan, vice president of Business Services. “And we have 36,000 feet of swing space. We might not even have that full amount when the time actually comes.”

In these temporary spaces, City College will still need to consolidate uses and split time in classrooms, Sullivan said.

Sullivan said that different parts of the building will be shut down at different times throughout the entire construction process.

However, the entire building must be closed at one point. Sullivan hopes this will happen over the summer.

Both the JSB Café and the John Dunn Gourmet Dining room will have problems operating, since so much of their preparation goes on in the Campus Center kitchen, Puhl said.

But in the past when the Campus Center has been closed, the school has improvised, Sullivan said.

“We’ll do Santa Maria style BBQ, or we’ll do burgers and hot dogs, and we’ll do that kind of thing,” he said, as long as weather cooperates. “So we will try to supplement it, and we’ll just have to see how it goes.”

Since an architect hasn’t been chosen yet, the timing could easily change, according to Program Manager Steve Massetti.

“Without an architect actually having put the plans together, it’s really hard to tell how long it’s going to take,” Massetti said. “So that’s preliminary at this point.”

Renovations will include better accessibility for the disabled, waterproofing, lighting, improvements to the kitchen, improvements to fire alarms and fire exit doors, he said.

“Throughout the rest of the building, where necessary, we’ll be looking at flooring, replacement, re-painting walls, ceilings-you know, the standard stuff,” he said.

Massetti added that there won’t be any “major” changes.

“We’re not like knocking down a bunch of walls,” he said.

Of the $4.8 million budget for this project, approximately 40 percent amounts to design, testing, and inspections.

“Forty percent is kind of an industry standard,” Massetti said. “It’s kind of a high industry standard but better to (have), if you under estimate it, you end up blowing the budget.”

After taking input from user groups, which are groups made up of department chairs, deans, and some instructors of the programs being affected, Joe Sullivan and Jack Friedlander will determine where the programs residing in the Campus Center will relocate.

“Ultimately, the buck stops with Jack (Friedlander) and with me,” Sullivan said.