College of the Redwoods to receive $100M in new buildings, seismic upgrades

New gym and creative arts complex part of the plans

An illustration shows an athletic building proposed for construction at the College of the Redwoods. (College of the Redwoods – Contributed)

The College of the Redwoods could see more than $100 million in state funding over the next several years to construct and upgrade buildings on the college’s campus.

New creative arts and physical education complexes and several other buildings are planned, as well as upgrades to the college’s infrastructure.

Steven Roper, CR’s program manager for capital projects, said the state is funding the three projects in order to comply with the Alquist-Priolo Act, which establishes seismic standards. The funding will be dispersed in three stages for the two new projects, he said.

“I feel really really good about it,” Roper said. “In some ways, you could say we’re years ahead of schedule.”

The creative arts building has an estimated total project value of more than $24 million and is on the cusp of entering the second round of funding, which Roper expects to be dispersed towards the end of March. The physical education complex, which has an estimated total project value of more than $60 million, is “right at the top of the list,” for projects to be funded by the state, Roper said.

The funding comes from allocations made in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget. If it passes intact, funding for the preliminary plans will be secured. Typically, the state budget is approved in June.

“I believe this will be funded,” Roper said.

Roper has been working on the combination of projects for over five years and made an extra effort to ensure the dollars spent on the project stay local. Because the state is funding the projects, some elements were out of his hands, such as the requirement to select the lowest bid for the project. But, Roper was able to utilize a method called “bidder pre-qualification,” which essentially screens companies. A local company, Wahlund Construction, was awarded the contract for the infrastructure upgrades, with the construction component worth almost $28 million, and a total value of over $33 million.

“We’re within weeks of putting a shovel in the ground,” Roper said, referring to the infrastructure upgrades.

All three projects are expected to be completed between spring 2019 and the end of 2024, according to CR.

“The new creative arts building will allow CR to carry on its rich tradition of providing high-quality studio and performing arts education for North Coast residents,” said George Potamianos, CR’s dean of arts and humanities, in a statement.

The buildings will mark the continuation of improvements to the campus, including a new administration and student services building, a library, a theater, a sciences and humanities buildings, and the refurbishing of CR’s tennis and pickleball courts, as well as the track, a news release stated.

Athletic director Bob Brown said he was excited about the development in a statement.

“The ability to move students into a modern and efficient facility will have a tremendous impact on student learning, accessibility and overall feel to the academic experience for all students at CR,” he said. “It provides a major boost to the recruiting efforts of student-athletes and increases the sense of pride in competing for CR athletic programs. In addition, it provides the community a new state of the art resource for community events.”

Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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