Plans for building remodel canceled

 The state’s budget crisis has hit DVC again, this time for students and staff in the architecture and engineering technology programs.             

Plans to remodel the existing Archi/ET buildings have been put on indefinite hold, since state funding failed to make its way to the college.

The project was to be funded 50 percent from the state and 50 percent from a local bond measure that passed in 2006, said Chris Leivas, DVC’s vice president of finance and administration.

Although in the works for years, the project was still in its infancy stage, as architectural designs had not yet been submitted.

“At this point, that money is reserved for that project,” Leivas said. “This would be DVC’s first choice for a state project.”

The buildings have not been retrofitted to withstand earthquakes and are not energy efficient. Also, the plumbing needs work.

Built in the early 1970s in an architectural style called “mid-century modern,” the buildings resemble the “skin and bones” style of architect Mies van der Rohe.

“It was state of the art at the time,” said architecture instructor Daniel Abbott, excitedly explaining the architectural importance of the buildings. “It’s like a collector’s item.” 

The building is made out of brick, beams and metal panels.  Its only windows face onto an inner courtyard that was once maintained by a master Japanese gardener. 

“You get this very sheltered core,” said Abbott about the work space created by the buildings design. “It’s served us pretty well.”

Across the courtyard in the Engineering Technology building instructor Tom Chatagnier agreed, saying, “I’ve been able to use this space to do the type of things I like to do. [A remodel] would be nice.”

Guy Grace, DVC’s buildings and grounds manager, said early planning meetings for the remodel included talk about making the building green, as well as using it as a center for teaching how to build green.