Valley is building its future at a steady pace.
By Dede Ogbueze & Ricardo Varela
A modernized and energy-efficient Valley College is emerging from the Los Angeles Community College District’s ongoing construction program. The new Student Union Building’s opening this semester marks a 74 percent exhaustion of the school’s total $633 million renovation budget from bond measure funds, according to April’s BuildLACCD monthly progress report.
Funding for Valley’s recent and future construction comes from the LACCD’s bond measures, Propositions A, AA and Measure J, approved by voters in 2001, 2003 and 2008, respectively. These three pieces of legislation raised $5.7 billion for the improvement of LACCD’s nine campuses with state-of-the-art facilities, and an additional $557 million was raised from bond interest, state and other sources, according to BuildLACCD’s website.
“It’s like a completely different campus,” Chris Townsend, a fifth-year philosophy major, said. “I got here right before the library went up, so it feels like I’ve seen it all. A lot of the buildings are up to date now. [Valley] is like a new university.”
Townsend and his friends were in the Lion’s Den, a new student lounge and recreation room inside the Student Union Building. The building houses the new cafeteria, student health center, bookstore, business office and Valley’s first campus coffee shop, The Lion Cafe, on the first floor. The new Associated Student Union office, Skybox conference room, a silent study room and the Lion’s Den are on the second floor.
Thirty-three of forty projects planned at Valley, including new buildings and renovations to existing ones, are completed. All of Valley’s new buildings are designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Of the upcoming projects, one is in construction, two are in the design stage and three are in the planning stage.
The new Administration & Career Advancement building is under construction and is slated for a spring 2017 opening; as of April, it is $3.36 million over budget, according to BuildLACCD. The $93.66 million Media and Performing Arts Center is in the design phase and is scheduled for completion in fall 2018. An expansion of central plant capacity and an upgrade to security, fire alarm and emergency lighting is in design and planned for completion in 2018.
Along with new buildings and facilities, Valley is touching up existing ones. All instructional buildings have been upgraded with new floors, energy-efficient windows, air-dryers in bathrooms and some have solar roofing. Renovations included fixing any damages to the existing buildings.
“At first, all the new construction was annoying, because I didn’t know where it was going,” said Ani Gregoryan, a fourth-year student concurrently enrolled at CSUN. “The new parking garage is a lifesaver. Now you don’t have to pray for a spot when you’re rushing to class.”
Some of Valley’s older buildings will be razed as their occupants and services are moved to new locations. The demolition of the Theater Arts building will enter planning stages later this year. The 2002 facilities master plan states that “all 85 of [the bungalows] need to be removed and services and programs relocated elsewhere.” The former business office bungalow was demolished this semester, and BuildLACCD’s report only lists the scheduled demolition of bungalows 80 through 85, beginning in 2018.
Valley is scheduled to have completed all of its construction projects by 2019.