Pages

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Los Angeles Southwest College Gets 'Extreme Makeover'

More than $200 Million in Bond Construction Projects Gives
Los Angeles Southwest College 'Extreme Makeover'

Dramatic transformation provides College with more than 300,000 square feet in new and renovated facilities; adding more resources for skills-based careers and education for students in South Los Angeles

September 17, 2008 (LOS ANGELES) - Dr. Jack E. Daniels III, president of Los Angeles Southwest College (LASC), announced yesterday at a media and community breakfast held at the College that the campus has been dramatically transformed by the Los Angeles Community College District's (LACCD) Bond Construction Program.  Today, the campus is celebrating a virtual makeover with new ultra-modern facilities - like "smart" classrooms and solar powered buildings – that are serving more than 7,500 students. The new state-of-the-art buildings offer more services to help students transition into four-year institutions or skills-based careers.  Additionally, the 64-acre campus now boasts approximately 370,029 square feet of new and renovated structures.

Los Angeles Southwest College began its $204 million construction efforts in 2002.  Projects included replacing temporary structures, upgrading several facilities, and building nine major educational and support structures.  Campus enhancements also include major landscape and open space improvements to support student interaction for an increased sense of community. 

The College's 41 projects, funded through Propositions A and AA, were approved by L.A. voters in 2001 and 2003 as part of the LACCD’s mission to renovate and modernize its nine campuses across L.A. County.  Six major projects are currently underway at Southwest College, including a new Student Services Activity Center and an Athletic Stadium and Field House, which will help boost student access to education throughout the region. The campus opened its doors in 1967 with 600 students thanks to a handful of community activists seeking better educational opportunities for their children. More than four decades later, it continues to serve as a beacon of hope for the community.

"Southwest College exemplifies our commitment to building stronger educational facilities through the Bond Program and it has produced spectacular results as a pilot campus for our Design-Build efforts," said Larry H. Eisenberg, executive director, Facilities Planning and Development for LACCD.  "We recognize the progress Southwest College has made through the bond program and we celebrate its many achievements with rebuilding the campus."  

Other construction projects include new and enhanced "green" certified facilities for academic, athletic and student support service. These new developments will accommodate the current population of 7,500 students as well as the 12,000 students projected for future enrollment. 

Beyond the addition of new buildings and top-tier technology, however, the transformation of Los Angeles Southwest College is also a platform to provide underserved communities with higher education in skilled occupations that will directly impact the area.  The new facilities offer more quality resources, like a Child Development Center and Education Complex that offers teacher-training programs and safe care for the children of student-parents.  In addition, students learning through Southwest's “smart" classrooms gain valuable skills in the latest technology to become more employable in today’s modern marketplace.  

Dr. Daniels stated, "Thanks to the Bond Program, we now have an environment for learning and providing the community with a college they can be proud of.  "Our students will be better served through the education and training they receive here at Southwest, thereby improving their potential future and helping make the campus a model college for years to come."

By using an innovative construction delivery method termed Design-Build, eight of Southwest College’s major projects have made unprecedented progress. Unlike the traditional method, whereby owners contract with separate companies to handle each aspect of design and construction, Design-Build entails contracting with only one team for the entire building process for a fixed price.  The practice is designed as a best-value method.

"In order to maximize taxpayer dollars for construction, we utilized the Design-Build approach to bundle projects and build them almost concurrently," said LASC's construction management team, Director Ed Bilezikjian and Assistant Director George Snead of Construction Controls Group.  "With our goal to reduce costs and expedite projects, the Design-Build approach offered advantages that led to the College's building success."

The Los Angeles Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the country, is in the midst of a $2.2 billion construction and modernization program at its nine colleges.  LACCD has contracted 72 percent of professional services and the construction program's work to date ($693 million as of July 2008 of bond funds) to local, small, emerging and disabled-veteran enterprise businesses.  Companies interested in participating in this $2.2 billion renovation and modernization program are encouraged to visit www.LACCDBuildsGreen.org and click on “Contracting & Bidding Site.”