Ohlone College begins renovation construction - Article, Office of College Advancement

Tuesday, February 18, 2014—Reprinted from Tri-City Voice.

Submitted by Ohlone College.

The first of several important construction projects that will dramatically renovate Ohlone College's hillside campus in Fremont commences with the groundbreaking for the South Parking Structure which took place on February 12. Funded by the Measure G Bond, the innovative parking structure will be integrated into Ohlone College's unique sloped landscape, allowing for greater accessibility and providing convenient traversal of the campus. Adhering to Ohlone's commitment to environment sustainability, the beautiful design will also be coupled with state-of-the-art green construction.

Members of Ohlone College use shovels to break ground.Carl Overaa, Vice President of Business Development; Ernie Yamane, Steinberg Architecture Senior Vice President; Prabjhot Kaur, Ohlone College Student Trustee; Teresa Cox, Ohlone College Trustee; Dr. Gari Browning, Ohlone College President/Superintendant; Garrett Yee, Ohlone College Trustee and Board Chair; and Ohlone College Trustees Richard Watters, Vivien Larsen, Jan Giovannini-Hill, Greg Bonaccorsi and Kevin Bristow.

Currently, the bulk of the College's parking lies at the foot of the Ohlone hillside, a five to ten minute walk uphill to the core academic buildings, with over a hundred foot gain in elevation. While an argument can be made for the fitness of Ohlone students, most will celebrate the respite from climbing stairs that the new structure brings, as parking will be brought to the same elevation as Ohlone's central academic buildings.

Additional construction and renovations to the academic buildings, slated to run through 2018, will advance this concept, seamlessly connecting the parking structure to the different levels of campus with the areas where most students spend their time. The overarching design speaks to a better flow of pedestrian traffic on the Ohlone campus, which students can easily navigate allowing for easier interaction with the academic environment and easier interaction with each other.

In addition, the structure's generous 900-plus parking capacity should help alleviate the hunt for parking spaces during peak hours.

Members of Ohlone College use shovels to break ground.From left to right: Garrett Yee, Ohlone College Board of Trustees Chair and Ernie Yamane, Steinberg Architect Senior Vice President.

Adding to the structure's uniqueness is its sustainable construction practices, which are aligned with Ohlone's other green buildings and solar field in the College's promise of environmental stewardship. Don't be fooled by the South Parking Structure's classy wooden accents Ð this is actually Resysta, a fiber reinforced hybrid material made of 60 percent rice husks, 22 percent common salt and 18 percent mineral oil, making it both environmentally friendly and extremely weather resistant. Furthermore, any unused construction materials will be repurposed for future Ohlone construction projects.

The design of the South Parking Structure also considers the environment aesthetically; from initial planning, the design process used the context of Ohlone's hillside, resulting in a structure that rises naturally with the sloped landscape, rather than towering above the hills. The elegant profile contrasts sharply with the typical utilitarian edifices that parking structures bring to mind.

These innovations, as well as the beauty of the design concepts of Steinberg Architects, resulted in the South Parking Structure receiving the 2013 Community College Facility Coalition's Professional Design Award.

The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2015. Overaa Construction, the prime contractor, was selected to oversee the project which officially began in January 2014. Overaa is a family-owned and operated general contractor headquartered in the Bay Area.

Construction of the South Parking Structure was made possible by Ohlone College Measure G Bond funds. In November 2010, taxpayers showed overwhelming support for the College in passing this bond, which will refurbish, renovate, and rehabilitate the aging Ohlone College Fremont Campus. For more information, visit www.ohlonebond.org.

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