Board of Trustees considers major SBCC building repairs


Daniel Wallace, News Editor

Prioritizing how it will spend money to repair its aging buildings, the Board of Trustees Thursday debated whether to remodel or replace the 79-year-old Administration Building.

While some trustees said that constructing new buildings would be too expensive, a state construction expert said otherwise.

Eric Mittlestead, associate vice chancellor of construction and facilities planning, said the difference between sufficiently old buildings and modern ones was akin to the difference between a 1956 Chevy and a modern car—there are limits to how much they can be improved.

“You can’t put enough technology in that to match my 2016 car,” Mittlestead said during a 1-hour presentation. “You can’t make that Chevy get better gas mileage, better smog control. These buildings have air quality issues, energy performance issues. . . some of these you can mitigate, and some you just can’t.”

According to Mittlestead, repairing the Administration Building would cost more than $21.5 million. Replacing the building would be more cost-effective, he added.

Mittlestead based his comments on the FUSION database, which stores most of the data the state uses to decide which community college infrastructure projects to fund each year. Each project is put into one of six categories, which determines the amount of money the project can potentially receive by the state.

The full report to the board can be found here.

Trustee Marsha Croninger pushed back on the recommendation to replace the City College’s Administration Building—originally built in 1939—instead of repairing it.

“This building is probably better built than anything else we have,” Croninger said. “To say that ‘x million dollars’ needs to be included in the cost because it’s ‘beyond useful life’ doesn’t make sense to me. I think the system is stacked against what is potentially a really good building.”

The college must submit a 5-year construction plan to the state by July 1. The College Planning Council, along with the board, has been discussing what projects might ultimately be contained in the document. On Tuesday, the council reviewed a laundry list of all the repairs that need to be completed as soon as possible.

The board was educated Thursday on the process by which the state decides whether to fund infrastructure projects on college campuses.

“The metrics they use in Sacramento to make decisions may tell us what we have a better chance of receiving funding for,” Trustee Robert Miller explained.

Mittlestead emphasized that the college should not prioritize its projects solely on how likely it is for the state to fund them.

“If your facilities educational master plan says we have a need and the state says you are not competitive enough, then we need to contemplate the local tax base to see if it can support it.” Mittlestead said. “It’s all for the benefit of the students.”