New Commons Area invites students


Shane Louis

Selena Soberal performs with the DVC Vocal Jazz Ensemble in the new DVC Commons area on Wednesday, April 8. The Music and Dance Departments both contributed to performances at the official opening.

Shane Louis, Co-editor-in-chief

Diablo Valley College officially unveiled the new Commons Area on Wednesday, April 8 after five years of construction. The Commons was the final phase of this round of campus remodels.

The ceremony included performances from the DVC Music and Dance Departments.

Dance and theatre major Rachel McDonald, 26, performed with the group at the ceremony.

“The whole thing is really pretty,” she said. “And I would love to see more dancing and music performances out here.”

Kyle Ruane, 21, moved to the Bay Area in 2014 from Pennsylvania. He liked the modern look and social interaction of students.

“It’s nice being in California,” he said. “Out in Pennsylvania, you don’t see nothin’ like this.”

He especially liked the design of the amphitheater. “I love how natural it looks; it doesn’t stick out,” Ruane said. “It blends in with everything very well.”

While students generally agreed the new area is well-placed and laid out, some still had concerns.

Bang Wong studies architecture and construction management at DVC, and while he liked the way water is getting recycled, he said he would like to see more shade because it gets hot in the summer. He also expressed concern about the wood furniture rotting.

Brandon James Hatter, 21, had similar concerns. “It has a good look to it,” he said. “But some of the bolts are already rusting.”

While these concerns may seem minor, they could create serious issues and increased cost for the future.

“It’s a lovely new quad,” said construction management major Cameron Smith, 24. “And I’m glad we have a good maintenance staff.” Wong, Hatter and Smith agreed that maintaining the space could be difficult, especially the grass and the front edge of the stage that could become a popular skateboarding spot.

DVC President Peter Garcia said this was his concern as well, but he hopes the Commons will help bring students together on campus.

Former DVC President Judy Walters said this was the intent when they started planning around August 2007. “They had a diagonal slash going through the campus,” she said, “And I said ‘that isn’t going to work, that’s separating people.'” DVC needed an entrance and a main point of interest.

“You walk in, and all the things that you need outside of your classroom experience you can get from this commons,” Garcia said. “You can get food, you can get all the student services: counseling, financial aid, EOPNS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services), you can buy your books.” He continued, “You can even get into student life because the student union, and you can attend a musical or dramatic performance. And the art gallery is right there.”

“What I have been really impressed with since I’ve gotten here is the patience of students around what has been an active construction site,” Garcia said. He hopes students who have had to put up with the construction for a couple years will get a little bit of joy out of the space.

According to Garcia, they still need to create architectural solutions for the the Art Department, Engineering Technology Building, general classroom space, Performing Arts Center classrooms, and the science hill,  as well as bringing some pathways into compliance.