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Community colleges continue growth spurt

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As Grossmont and Cuyamaca community colleges continue to expand their student populations, the campuses expand with it.

"From spring 2006 to spring 2008 we added 3,400 new students -- a 15 percent increase in enrollment since the projects started," said Dana Quittner, spokeswoman for the Grossmont/Cuyamaca College District. Grossmont has gained approximately 2,000 students, while Cuyamaca has gained approximately 1,500. New buildings at both colleges have allowed for an expansion of class offerings.

By 2015, district enrollment is expected to increase by 10,000 students to 35,000 enrolled. Grossmont College has approximately $94.4 million in construction planned or already in progress. The college broke ground on a $24.5 million parking structure and will remodel its Exercise Science and Wellness Complex for $8.9 million. It will also build a Health and Physical Science Complex for $36 million.

Approximately 750-800 new parking spaces will be added with the construction of a three-level parking structure in lot 5. The expansion will add new public safety offices as well.

An artist’s rendering of the future $36 million Grossmont Health and Physical Science Complex.

The structure's design, provided by International Parking Design, will greatly improve access for disabled people by providing access at inner-campus elevation. Current accommodations are provided by long wheelchair ramps throughout the campus.

Construction on the parking structure began in June and is projected for completion in the summer of 2009.

The Exercise Science and Wellness Complex remodel, which began construction in October, was expected to open Aug. 22. Extensive remodeling will completely renovate the main upper floor's locker rooms and showers, coaches' offices, classrooms and a weight training and exercise room.

"The complex was the area most in need of repair," based on initial assessments of the campuses' buildings, said Quittner.

Architectural firm Mosher Drew Watson Ferguson designed the remodel, and the district has contracted Soltek Pacific for its construction.

The Health/Physical Sciences Complex will house health professions programs and science labs and classrooms, as well as faculty and technician offices. The buildings, also designed by Mosher Drew Watson Ferguson, utilize an open courtyard concept.

The district will break ground on the complex in the fall, with a tentative completion date in spring 2010.

Grossmont is also waiting for final approval for a proposed $25 million expansion of its student services and student center buildings.

The Student Services Complex project would renovate and expand the current administrative and student support buildings, as well as renovate and expand the current student center. Mosher Drew Watson Ferguson has conceptually designed the complex for one a "one-stop" concept for various student services.

At Cuyamaca College, there is a projected $29.1 million to be spent on renovations. The campus will build a $25 million Business, Computer and Information Science building (CIS) and a $4.1 million expansion of its Learning Resource Center (LCR).

The CIS Building will make its home between the Exercise Science/PE complex and the A-G Building complex. CIS, business, economics, paralegal studies and real estate programs will tenant the building, allowing for expansion of the CIS program's lab-based courses and programs.

LPA Inc. designed the 50,570-square-foot CIS Building, which should break ground in the fall and be completed by spring 2010.

LPA also designed the LRC expansion and remodel, which will add 3,648 square feet to the existing center, and will house Disabled Student Services High-Tech Center, tutoring services and instructional support services.

Groundbreaking dates for the LCR have yet to be finalized.

Additionally, Cuyamaca recently completed its $44.6 million Communications and Arts Complex. The 22-month project features 14 classrooms, 18 laboratories and independent learning facilities. It also houses a 360-seat theater/assembly hall, a 100-seat digital theater with wide-screen projection, art studios, practice rooms for music, offices, storage areas and dressing rooms.

The 90,000-square-foot building, designed by NTD Stichler and constructed by Rudolph and Sletten Inc., has quickly become the visual landmark of the campus since opening Jan. 31.

Funding for the colleges' projects is the result of Proposition R, approved in 2002. The $207 million bond measure, in conjunction with state funds, has supported the construction or remodel of 11 buildings between the two colleges, completed in since 2002. "Over the past year, we have opened seven new buildings," Quittner said.

The district's current projects will be among the bond's final.

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