By RYAN OLSON - Staff Writer
Posted: 12/10/2009 12:13:53 AM PST
BUTTE VALLEY -- Butte College celebrated the completion of a new three-story building geared to bring student services and administrative offices under one roof on Wednesday.
In addition to providing a convenient destination for students, the $22.3 million Student and Administrative Services building will allow the college to remove decades-old portable trailers clustered in the center of campus.
The opening of the new building caps a six-year construction boom where the college added five new buildings to the Butte Valley campus and in Chico. Most of the projects — which added more than 293,033 square feet of space — were funded by state dollars and by the $85 million Measure A bond initiative approved by local voters in 2002.
As part of Wednesday's ribbon--cutting ceremony, college President Diana Van Der Ploeg noted the first project — the Chico Center — was just getting under way when she first arrived.
"It's been a heckuva lot of fun," she said.
Van Der Ploeg said one factor in the current building's completion was the decision to press forward instead of waiting for state funding. The decision was fortuitous, given Sacramento's financial woes.
"We still would've been sitting around, waiting," she said.
The site of the new building, across from the Campus Center, was initially a volleyball pit, according to facilities director Mike Miller.
The site was a rough field before construction started in May 2008.
"We've come a long ways," Miller said.
Miller said the college has spent $60 million in construction over the past two years — for the Student and Administrative Services building, the Arts Center and two solar projects. He said the construction dollars helped to keep local contractors employed.
Miller and Van Der Ploeg heaped praise on the people involved with the projects, including planners and local construction teams. Miller noted the five Measure A projects have been on time and on budget. The Student and Administration Services project was two years ahead of schedule.
After the ceremony, many took the opportunity to tour the 59,646-square-foot building, peeking in on brightly lit and furnished offices awaiting habitation.
Graphic design student Helen Hagler of Oroville was pleased with how students wouldn't have to run around campus for service.
"All of our services are centralized now," she said.
Language arts student Tyler Farmer of Chico said the new building is exciting. He's looking forward to the old portables' removal in front of the new building.
"I'll get to frolic because there's more green space," Farmer said.
English student Lauren Phipps of Paradise liked the new building's sustainable features. She noted the portables were far from environmentally friendly.
"I'm glad to see those go," she said.
Donna Tibbitts, a student activities secretary, was checking out the Welcome Center geared toward potential students. With many programs moving into the new building, her office will relocate from the portables to the neighboring Campus Center. "It will be nice to have everyone in one area," Tibbitts said.
College spokeswoman Lisa DeLaby said the new building will house more than 12 student-service programs, including admissions and records, financial aid, counseling and the career center.
"It's pretty much a one-stop service center for students," DeLaby said.
Moving administrative offices include 10 groups, such as Van Der Ploeg's office, the vice presidents' offices, the business office and human resources.
DeLaby said some people were slowly moving into the building because of the end of the semester. She said the move was expected to be completed by Dec. 17.
The building continues the college's efforts to be more environmentally sustainable, with features such as solar panels, skylights and no-flush urinals. The building is designed to meet the Green Building Council's gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
To underscore how the building would save energy, a PG&E representative presented Butte with a "check" for $43,366 for the estimated savings over the next decade.