Science Complex on schedule to completion


Daniel Hernandez

A D-Line Construction excavator carves out a hole in the ground to make way for concrete electrical vaults that will work for the utilities and water systems.

By Daniel Hernandez, Social Media Editor

Students can finally expect construction to begin on the new highly anticipated $68.86 million Science Complex coming in the fall semester.

Just a year ago, a perimeter fenced off the aged Liberal Arts and Health Sciences buildings for excavators to tear apart the structure.

Now, the second phase of construction is coming to an end while the search is on for a contractor to be commissioned for assembling the Science Complex.

On July 25, a pre-bid meeting was held for contractors to have an on-site presentation.

“The pre-bid meeting is a mandatory meeting where any contractor who plans to offer a bid for the project has to show up — it qualifies the contractor to offer a bid to the district,” Technology Systems Manager James Eyestone said.

According to project manager Mike Chambers with Critical Solutions (CSI), there are five companies placing their bid.

The bidding period will start September 4 and the award of contract is scheduled to be issued the day after District Board approval on Sept. 12.

“We’re following the district’s process to decide who is going to actually do the main building portion of that project,” Eyestone said.

Ron Johnson, who was not available for comment, is president of CSI and in charge of overseeing the new building.

There are three phases called increments laid out for the building process. Increment zero was for Central Valley Environmental (CVE) to tear down the LA Building and HS Building along with removal of rubble.

“Increment 1 is just basically moving dirt,” Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said. D-Line Constructors are the on the job for this phase doing the geographical work as dozers level the earth and trucks regularly enter the site to haul off excess backfill material.

Some roadblocks such as a redwood tree at the northwest wedge of the site couldn’t be removed until nesting season was over for native birds.

By the time D-Line ripped out the tree, the LA building was already gone.

“One of the interesting things they found was a well. No one knew it was there,” Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said. During the ground excavation, workers found an encased hole with a pump at the bottom where the HS Building stood.

No clues were available to trace back who installed the now decommissioned well.

By May 24, Chambers obtained quotes from specialty contractors to fill the abandoned well to ensure that no contaminants will enter the groundwater.

In July, wood and steel pilings were driven into the ground to hold back erosion and decay from the hillside at the western edge. For the final weeks of the phase, space was dug out for large concrete electrical vaults along with sewer and utility components.

Chambers said D-Line has about a month left on site before they “take away their toys,” referring to the construction equipment, which leaves everything ready for the next group to continue.

The awarded contractor will receive a notice to proceed on Sept. 23 and have 21 days to mobilize onsite and begin the final phase by laying out the foundation. Steel beams that are manufactured off site will be placed into the building’s assembly in the weeks that follow.

From then on, the project is expected to last for 650 days to substantial completion and 60 days to final completion.

“The biology and physical science buildings will be combined in there, so they’ll have all the amenities for chemistry labs, fit with cadavers and kinesiology,” King said.

Funded by Measure E and with the estimated date of completion in 2023, the new Science Complex designed by SmithGroupJJR will feature three floors, a 55-seat planetarium and an upgraded observation deck.

This will be a much-needed update to existing equipment in the aged Physical Sciences building.