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SBCC Considering $18.7 Million Building Project to Replace Portables Deemed Unsafe

The majority of the 28 temporary classrooms on the college's East Campus are no longer state certified

Santa Barbara City College may construct a new building — at an estimated cost of $18.7 million — to replace 20-year-old portable classrooms on the East Campus that have been found unsafe.

“It is the most viable option at this time because we can’t keep the buildings,” said Joseph Sullivan, vice president of business services.

The other option for SBCC would be to reconstruct all the portables and have them recertified by the Division of the State Architects, which is estimated to cost $2.5 million.

“It hasn’t been decided,” Sullivan said. “We’re taking it through consultation internally.”

The new building would be a two-story, permanent structure with an equivalent area to the portables: 33,672 square feet, according the College Planning Council’s agenda from Sept. 18.

The project would empty the Measure V construction bond for SBCC, currently holding about $16.5 million, and be supplemented by money from a separate construction fund, according to Sullivan.

Of the total 28 portable classrooms, 22 were relocated from Santa Monica Community College in 1999, and were said to be temporary. Now, 13 years later, the portables that are used for “swing space” during other building renovations are no longer certified by the DSA.

Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects was hired to look into the project, and has done preliminary sketches of the possible new building. A majority of the portables were constructed between 1993 and 1997, according to a condition evaluation written by the firm this summer.

The manufacturer of the portables has gone out of business, and drawings and forms relating to those on campus are missing.

Based on DSA records, SBCC has seven uncertified buildings, a majority of which were built in the 1990s.

Sullivan presented the issue and the plan of a new building to the board of trustees on Sept. 27.

“We can’t keep those buildings on campus for a couple of reasons,” Sullivan told the board. “The important thing is we are in a planning process to address those issues, and that’s going forward.”

Sullivan told Noozhawk that he hopes to have a decision made in a month so that the college can start the project as soon as possible.

“It’ll probably take us a year to get the design, and the approvals of the place before we can start building,” he said.

He also noted that there’s a long-range plan for a 60,000-square-foot building to replace the remaining portables on campus, among those the International Office.

Julie Hendricks, director of facilities and campus development, said the goal is to remove all module buildings on campus.

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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