By Arcel Cunanan
The board of trustees approved the Balboa Reservoir land exchange on Nov. 20, which will allow the construction of the Joint Use Facility and Performing Arts Center on the Ocean campus to continue as scheduled, said James Blomquist, associate vice chancellor of facilities planning / management.
With the construction happening in the reservoir, available parking spaces have been reduced from 2094 to 1700 and a new entrance was added to the north end. To offset the reduction of parking in the reservoir, an additional 340 parking spaces have been created for students and faculty where the old North and South gymnasiums once stood.
The spaces are distributed among Lot “N” and “S”, which are in the same spots as the old North and South gymnasiums. Lot “N” is reserved for faculty and staff parking Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Lot “S” is available for students throughout the week when the campus is open. Blomquist recommends this as an alternative to parking the reservoir.
Even though the construction has rerouted parking and traffic on the Ocean campus, Blomquist said he has not received any complaints regarding the project.
Also under construction are 400 geothermal wells for the buildings new eco-friendly heating and cooling systems. In total, 300 wells have already been dug, with each well being 400 feet deep said Blomquist. Piping for 50 of the wells are complete, and the foundation for the joint use building will be laid this month.
“After all the piping is installed they are networked to an underground vault where they are collected and then routed to the central plant. The central plant is a room in the basement of the Joint Use Facility under construction currently,” said Blomquist. “The water that has circulated through the wells is heated or cooled in the central plant and then routed to the various buildings that the plant will serve.”
City College psychology major Josh Motta drives to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday and parks in the reservoir. Other than the expected pedestrian versus driver battle at the crosswalks, Motta has had no problems with finding a parking spot. As far as construction goes “I haven’t noticed any changes,” he said. “The way the reservoir is set up now is a lot better than how it was before. It is difficult to go when people are crossing the street. I could care less about the center entrance because I like to use the entrance closest to Riordan. The center is where the most traffic happens because of the amount of pedestrians, drivers, and the stoplights.”
City College already has the permits for the Joint Use Facility and the bidding process for the building is underway. Bidding for projects, like the Joint Use facility, are broken up into components of the building. Subcontracts for individual components like steel, concrete, flooring, dry wall and painting are advertised publicly to contractors. The contractors in turn provide an estimated price for one or more of the projects.
Generally, the lowest bid is awarded the contract, said Blomquist.
The next step in construction will be to install traffic signals at the south and north ends of Phelan Avenue. The new traffic signals will improve the flow of traffic and pedestrian safety, according to the department of Facilities Planning / Management.
Once the signals are in place, the center entrance to the reservoir will be closed and more focus will be put on traffic on the north end. The construction of the signals should be completed by the beginning of the Spring 2009 semester, said Blomquist.