Ohlone College to rebuild main campus - Article, Office of College Advancement

Tuesday, October 29, 2013—Reprinted from Tri-City Voice.

By Frank Addiego.

Ohlone College will soon see sweeping changes; a new parking structure at the Fremont campus by the summer of 2015, and replacement of many older buildings by spring, 2018.

The campus is notorious for its hillside steps from parking lots to even the lower levels of the main campus; some call it "Heart Attack Hill." The college hopes that the South Parking Structure will address some of the problem.

Soon after completion of the parking structure, Ohlone College will say goodbye to several buildings that have stood on the hillside for over 40 years. This will be a $135 million project, funded by revenue from 2010's Measure G, which issued $349 million in bonds for improvements to renovate classrooms, update technology, upgrade safety and improve access for the disabled.

"In the summer of 2015, three buildings will come down simultaneously," said Vice President of Administrative Services Ron Little, with two more demolished and rebuilt, "further down the line." Among the first to go will be the main building which houses the library and most administration offices. The other two buildings are home to classrooms, laboratories and offices. Replacement for one of the buildings will span from the lowest level of the main campus to the highest, again in an attempt to lessen the climb for students and visitors.

Following construction of these buildings, two more will be demolished and replaced; other buildings will be renovated. Ohlone College plans to create three new athletic fields, one of which will replace a problematic baseball field with a large depression in the outfield.

Asked about the cost of replacement, College Advancement Director Patrice Birkedahl said, "The cost of repairing is so high compared to the cost of building new." During construction, classes will be held in portable classrooms as well as the Fremont Campus' Smith Center and Hyman Hall, which house state-of-the-art classes for performing arts and information technology, respectively. Forty-four portable classrooms will be located behind Hyman Hall, in parking lot spaces and an additional 10-14 at the Newark Campus.

"It started a number of years ago because our facility was aging," said Dr Gari Browning, President and Superintendent of the Ohlone College, "We were spending a lot of resources on keeping it going and it was inconveniencing a lot of people." Some of the buildings on the campus were experiencing "below-grade water intrusion," according to Birkedahl.

The Ohlone College Board of Trustees meets on the second Wednesday of every month, usually on the Fremont campus, though they are also required to meet on the Newark campus twice a year. The Measures A&G Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee meets on a quarterly basis; its next meeting is scheduled for January 13, 2014 on the Fremont campus.

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