Fullerton College has several construction projects happening on campus currently. The new Instructional building housing Humanities is on track to be completed near the end of October. The maintenance and operations, as well as the Chapman Newell building, are on schedule to be completed toward the end of 2024. However, problems occurred with the bidding process for the 300 and 500 buildings.
The market for construction costs has increased substantially since COVID-19, and the market is no longer the same as when cost projections were initially completed a few years ago. Although price increases are common and were accounted for in the budget estimates, the costs have exceeded those expectations exponentially. As a result, all bids were well over 50 percent of the funds allocated for the 300 and 500 buildings and, because so, were rejected.
“The things we thought were going to happen in February, now it’s August, and we’re like, well that didn’t happen.” assistant project manager for Campus Capital Projects Megan Moscol said.
The Division of the State Architect has a rule that if costs exceed 50 percent of what it would cost to replace the buildings, the building must be replaced entirely to include seismic upgrades. This poses a problem for Campus Capital Projects.
The 300 building holds significant historical value, although it is not officially a historic building.
“It is recognized in the community as a cultural asset. We’re the oldest continuously operating community college in California and that was our first building.” said Moscol.
Campus Capital Projects’ goal is only to add upgrades and renovations to keep the historical value of the 300 building. Still, because of the uncertainty of the market, it may have to be replaced if prices do not go down. Options are still be explored for the time being on how to move forward.
Additionally, the construction delays have caused changes on campus with classes, programs, and offices held in those buildings.
The impact of these changes lands primarily on the Business and CIS Division. Should construction plans be abandoned, it is uncertain if it will be moved to a temporary space or returned to the 300 building.
The Veterans Resource Center and Umoja will also likely be moved into a temporary space before being permanently relocated to the Chapman and Newell building upon completion towards the end of 2024.
The Dean’s office was relocated from the 300 building to the 1000 building.
The majority of the 500 building was occupied by the Humanities department but is planned to be moved into the Instructional Building upon its completion in October. However, due to COVID-19, those classes are remote for the time being, and relocation for those classes was a nonissue.
When deciding to relocate classes and programs, Campus Capital Projects aimed to consolidate and centralize the classes and programs to make for less travel between classes for those with specific majors. In addition, services were relocated to be accessible and intuitive to find.
For more information on existing and planned construction projects, visit Fullerton College’s Campus Projects website.