Range of DVC Construction Projects Set To Overhaul Campus Infrastructure

A render of DVCs new Art Complex. Image courtesy of DVC.

A render of DVC’s new Art Complex. Image courtesy of DVC.

William Jacobson, Staff

Tough budgetary decisions have forced Diablo Valley College to commit to renovating a new Engineering Technology (ET) building for around $56 million, rather than rebuilding a new academic complex that would have included a liberal arts building, faculty offices, and a student center, according to DVC President Susan Lamb.

The academic complex can only be 60 percent completed with the remaining funds from Measure E, a $450 million bond plan for the Contra Costa Community College District that county voters approved in 2014.

“The college as a whole, and I, decided to move forward with the upgrades and additions to the ET building,” President Lamb told The Inquirer in a recent interview.

The original estimate for district campus renovation and upgrade work was $700 million. But the 2014 measure budgeted less than two-thirds of that amount – forcing DVC to make some hard choices about which infrastructure mattered most.

While $182 million was allocated to DVC for the projects under Measure E, the remaining $268 million is slated for other colleges within the 4CD.

President Lamb said the “cost increase [of projects] and consistent rise in inflation” led the administration to reassess student and faculty needs and ultimately settle on renovations to the ET building at the expense of the broader academic complex.

Nevertheless, the Liberal Arts building will receive a “cosmetic face-lift” with the remaining funds from Measure E, said DVC sociology professor Lisa Smiley-Ratchford at a college council meeting on March 8. The LA building is expected to receive new furniture, carpeting, AV systems, paint, and other upgrades, she said.

Potential further funding for the academic complex could come from a future bond measure.

The most significant projects for the Pleasant Hill campus include new athletic buildings, a new art center, an academic complex, and the new engineering building.

Phase one of the new athletic buildings project will include construction of a new gym as well as upgrades and extensions to existing buildings and classrooms used for sports medicine and physical therapy programs.

The plan was due to be completed last fall, but “there have been supply-chain issues” that were beyond contractors’ control, said Lamb. Phase two involves work on the Aquatic Center, now on track to be completed by mid-2023.

Meanwhile, construction of the new art facilities has seen significant progress and is due to be completed in late May or early June of this year, Lamb said.

She credited Contra Costa voters for approving the initiative that will help strengthen the district’s schools. “I really appreciate the taxpayers voting for this because it shows appreciation in what we do,” Lamb said.