DeJardin breaks new ground

Clackamas Community College celebrated the groundbreaking for the DeJardin Hall expansion and new transit center on Friday.

Construction for the new parking lot and transit center will begin June 18, with aims to be finished by fall 2019, when structures for the expansion will be brought to the campus.

A ceremony was held between the DeJardin Hall and the parking lot, with speeches by various prominent CCC faculty and David Sprott, a CCC student, followed by a ceremonial “groundbreaking” with golden shovels, performed by various attendees and members of the expansion teams, including CCC President Joanne Truesdell.

The expansion is the third of four building projects planned by CCC under a $90 million bond measure passed by Clackamas Community College district voters in 2014. An additional $32 million was matched by the state of Oregon to bond measure 3-447.

The fourth planned project is a student services and community commons building, and is going on bid for architectural services this summer, to be completed in 2021.

The DeJardin Hall expansion will add 18,600 square feet to the existing building, and will feature six new state-of-the-art science labs for chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology and anatomy classes.

“The most important part [of the project] is that we will increase the capacity,” said Ron Adams, a member of CCC’s Board of Education.

“What happens when you run into our current process, students can’t get through,” Adams said. “They can’t get the classes in the order that they would like and they end up just sometimes not even sticking around.”

The expansion will allow CCC to host an additional 250 students. Sixteen percent of students use public transportation to get to CCC, said Adams. The new transit center will be able to accommodate 12 buses at a time, and will double the current number of parking spaces.

A grant of $1.76 million from the Oregon Department of Transportation is funding the new transit center and will go towards a new path from CCC directly to the Oregon City High School, as part of their Connect Oregon program.

Mahlum Architects, inici group and Lease Crutcher Lewis are heading the projects.

“Really, the project is just meant to speak to science and showcase science,” said Mark Butler, Project Executive for Lease Crutcher Lewis.

“We definitely want make sure that science is on display for the students and they have a new, 21st century science facility,” Butler said.

Eden Francis, a chemistry instructor and department chair, is excited for the increased space for students to work.

Currently, CCC has one lab that serves for general chemistry, organic chemistry, allied health chemistry and water and environmental health classes and one lab that serves as an open-lab tutorial center, said Francis.

“We will actually be able to schedule labs when students really need them,” Francis said, “and we will hopefully be able to offer more labs because we won’t be trying to cram so many labs into one room.”

Mahlum Architects worked closely with CCC faculty, staff and students while designing the expansion, spending two days at CCC surveying students about what they wanted to see.

Some of the student-surveyed features incorporated into the design include more study spaces, both open areas and private rooms, locations close to classrooms and faculty offices and natural lighting.

“I hope that it is a very engaging space that students feel welcome to be in, both when they’re in class and to hang out, and to study and that it provides a home for our science and engineering students, and for the faculty and staff that work here,” Francis said.

Interior displays like a full-size replica beluga whale skeleton and a blown-up model of cougar DNA will be featured in the expansion.

Mahlum also worked with staff on details like room layout and student lineof- site to make the labs safer, and the 18 new fume hoods will make class activities less crowded and dangerous.

“It’s like building a house, but on a huge scale,” Francis said. “It’s been fascinating to think about, and to think about how we use our labs now, and what works, and what doesn’t work and to be able to apply

that to a whole new start.”

Current and transferring CCC students have shown lots of enthusiasm towards the projects, said CCC biology instructor Tory Blackwell, but some can’t help but feel disappointed that they won’t be able to use the new facilities in the fall.

CCC’s STEM club is officially the largest student group on campus, and Blackwell said CCC’s STEM students drove the change.

“That’s how science works,” Blackwell said. “Science builds on the science before it.” Lori Hall, CCC’s public information officer, is looking forward to students being able to use the new labs and spaces.

“I’m excited to see the new space and how students interact,” Hall said, “[and] the learning opportunities that will be available in it.”

With construction starting, Butler warned CCC students, staff and faculty to be careful around the sites. Eighty-five percent of injuries in construction zones happen to the public, Butler said.

“As you’re driving around this summer, take extra precautions,” Butler said. “Pay attention so that you and your family and the construction workers are safe.”

The transit center is slated to be operable this fall term, and CCC hopes for the DeJardin expansion to be finished

The golden shovels awaiting use for the DeJardin groundbreaking event on Friday. Photo by Jonathan Villagomez.

by fall 2019.

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Jeanette Wright