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Construction in Bldg. 4 is one step closer to completion

By Ian Gerig

As students settle into their schedules for the new school year, construction crews continue their work on the interior of Bldg. 4.

This construction, part of a $40 million Applied Technology advancement project, has been under way since the summer of 2013 and is expected to be fully completed in time for the start of the 2015 fall term.

Phil Wright, Chemeketa’s director of Facilities & Operations/Capital Projects, said that students already should soon notice a decrease in activity. The current work was tapering off toward the end of October.

“The project will appear complete in mid- October,” he said. “But testing and balancing of the HVAC system may continue, and … remedial work will continue during off hours until the project specifications are met.”

While Wright said he was pleased with the progress that he had seen so far, he would not be completely satisfied until construction was completely finished.

“The objective … is to meet the project’s specifications. When that’s done, the project will be complete, and then I will be pleased,” he said.

Wright also said that the quality of the work was impressive.

“Most of it has exceeded the quality typically observed, despite the often blistering pace and very long hours under which it was being performed,” he said.

The current phases of construction entail replacement of the electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning), and lighting systems in Bldg. 4, in addition to the general remodel of the Visual Communications and Automotive Program areas.

Unfortunately, the construction has meant crowded hallways and temporary classrooms for many students and faculty.

Don Brase, the college’s dean of Humanities and Communications, said that the construction itself hasn’t caused frustrations. Instead, unexpected delays were the culprit.

“Our frustrations mounted in the spring and summer when we were told that certain projects would be completed by specific dates,” Brase, who has been at the college for 21 years, said.

“When those projects weren’t completed by the given date, we were frustrated because we had made plans based on those projections.”

Even so, Brase said he was pleased with the faculty’s understanding in evaluating the situa- tion.

“I really appreciate their attitudes during this entire process,” he said. “They would rather have honest, bad news than inaccurate, overly optimis- tic information.”

Simon Chernishoff, a fifth-year Visual Com- munications student, has had to deal with con- struction crews right outside of one of his classes and said he has felt a bit annoyed at times.

“It’s disrupted class. They remodeled everything, and it’s just taking a long time,” he said. “I was used to everything the way it was last year. The new stuff isn’t bad; it’s just different.” Aurora Easbey, a second-year student who uses the Bldg. 4 stairwell frequently, originally had a less-than-positive opinion about the construction but said she was happy with the end result.

“At one point the ceiling was being worked on and the wires were exposed. Honestly, I felt a bit unsafe,” Easbey said. “But now it looks great.”

Wright said that in this case, the end product was more than worth the inconveniences.

“This effort, when complete, will make it one of the highest performing buildings on the Salem campus,” he said.

“It will offer the most technologically advanced classrooms and labs and the college’s first LED interior lighting systems in an academic building on any campus.”

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