After scandals halted construction work at Southwestern College, the first project following the reassessment of Proposition R has broken ground.
On Wednesday, the Southwestern Community College District and Balfour Beatty Construction officials started digging for a new athletic Field House, officially restarting the $389 million Proposition R general obligation bond.
The facility will be built on the north end of the college’s DeVore Stadium end zone, and will overlook the field.
“The Field House is a centerpiece of our first phase of construction under Proposition R,” said Norma L. Hernandez, governing board president. “The facility is designed to have a very open feel, with lots of windows that look out onto our beautiful campus.”
The 40,000-square-foot structure will contain team locker and training facilities at the playing field-level; strength and conditioning facilities on the second floor; four new classrooms and a 140-seat mixed media auditorium on the third level; and health and exercise sciences faculty offices and tutorial spaces for student athletes on the fourth floor.
The Field House is designed by Gensler Architects and has architectural characteristics that reflect the Mayan theme of the existing campus.
This work is part of the first phase of construction from Proposition R.
Also part of this first phase is the construction of a 6,000-square-foot central plant that will provide high efficiency cooling and heating for new and existing campus buildings, as well as the installation of new synthetic turf for both DeVore Stadium and the football practice fields. The new turf will provide low water-use and low maintenance playing surfaces. This work is also being led by Balfour Beatty.
Phase one of Proposition R totals $90 million.
Proposition R was approved by South County voters in 2008. The money from the bond measure is to be used for construction; renovations to existing facilities, including the purchasing of new equipment and furnishings; acquisition or lease of property; and construction management services by District personnel.
On March 14 the District’s Governing Board unanimously voted to re-evaluate all Proposition R projects to determine the best use of bond funds and reassess its priorities after receiving the final draft of an independent "focused review" and associated "internal analysis."
The documents evaluate events that took place between the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years that led to the severance of some contracts.
In January, the board cut ties with BCA Architects -- the firm that designed the Corner Lot Project, and Seville Construction Services — the Proposition R project manager. Echo Pacific Construction Inc. was removed from the Corner Lot Project as the construction manager by the board last October.
These cuts came after bribery charges filed against current and former community college officials and a contractor.
900 Otay Lakes Rd.
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Reporter Carlos Rico attends the ribbon cutting for the new DeVore Stadium and Fieldhouse classroom facility at Southwestern College.