New Arts and Sciences Building Approved for Construction at City College

By Ann Marie Galvan



Construction for City College’s new STEAM building was approved by the California Division of the State Architect (DSA). Funded by Proposition A, an $845 million bond passed by voters in 2020, the groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 15, at 9:30 a.m., according to Brigitte Davila, president of the board of trustees.

The currently unnamed STEAM building, which stands for “sciences, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” will be a multidisciplinary classroom building that will bring updated facilities and resources to campus, with bigger rooms to accommodate larger classroom sizes. The impact report submitted to the city by City College in 2020 states that the STEAM building will be four to five stories and will be built “on the west side of Frida Kahlo Way.”

“Our facilities are really old and inadequate. The lack of heat, the leaky roofs. These [new] facilities are going to be great. It’s like it’s going to be the Ocean Campus reborn. It’s going to transform the campus,” said John Rizzo, vice president of the board of trustees.

“STEAM Powered College Revamp” Illustration by JohnTaylor Wildfeuer

“We’re one of the oldest community colleges in California,” Trustee Thea Selby said in a video released by City College. Originally built in 1935, about 70% of the buildings on Ocean Campus need renovations according to the board of trustees, as reported by The San Francisco Chronicle in 2020.

The STEAM building is one of a few new proposed buildings for the campus. Other buildings include a new student success center, a performing arts center, and a child care center. “Conlan Hall is going to be torn down. The new student center is going to go there. Counseling, financial aid, everything’s going to be in that one,” Rizzo said.

A new performing arts center is also slated for construction, although the plans have not yet been submitted to the DSA, according to Rizzo. Planned to be directly across the Science Hall, it will also be next to the new STEAM building “because the arts inform the sciences, and vice versa. Both are very creative areas,” Davila said.

The performing arts center will also be the new home for the Diego Rivera “Pan American Unity” mural that is currently on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

“That’s going to be the centerpiece of the campus,” Rizzo said. “It’s going to have a glass front, so from the street you can see the Diego Rivera mural. We expect that when we give campus tours, they’ll meet there, at the performing arts center.”

The glass, according to Davila, will be a “special glass” that will prevent Rivera’s mural from fading, and “whether you’re inside the building or outside, you’ll be able to see this absolutely incredible piece of art that City College owns,” she said.

The new performing arts building will also be equipped with the proper equipment to accommodate students in their educational pursuits. “They’ll have practice rooms,” said Madeline Mueller, chair of the music department, in the college’s release video. “We aren’t able in the music department to offer a transfer degree because we don’t have the proper facilities,” she added.

It’s currently unknown if construction will begin by the end of the year. “I think it’s possible,” Rizzo said. “It depends on what you define as construction because they start staging and moving in, and they put in trailers for engineers and the managers.” He added that the campus may see workers put up construction fences. 

With plans to tear down Conlan Hall, administration will also need to find a new home.

The Guardsman