Measures taken to prevent loitering, potential crime

Building to remain partially open to meet ADA state law


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Police aide Jagrwop Singh makes his rounds in the basement of the LA Building on Monday. The building is empty but remains open to provide elevator access to students with disabilities.

By Lorenzo Morotti, Associate Editor

Police Services has increased student aide patrols at the partially closed Liberal Arts Building since finding more students loitering inside the empty hallways and classrooms.

Contra Costa College Police Services Lt. Tom Holt said he reset the lock system to the interior doors inside the LA Building on Wednesday after police aides found students in the basement hallway.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said police aides interrupted some “hanky-panky” between students on Wednesday.

While Holt said no students were caught having sex in the building, he confirmed that this encounter is why he scheduled constant patrols.

He said the patrols are to prevent any possibility of criminal activity or unacceptable behavior in an unused and unlocked building on campus.

He said, “That is why I sent out the (campuswide) email and scheduled a police aide to be in or around the building at all times.”

He said when officers or police aides have found people loitering in the LA Building since the semester began they  have asked them to leave.

“Most of time these kids are looking for place to hang out. Not every person going into (the LA Building) is a criminal. I mean I get it. It’s a convenient place to hang out,” Lt. Holt said. “But the criminal element is there. Someone can see someone going in there and see a potential target.”

He said if it were up to him the building would be closed completely, but because of college policy the main doors have to remain unlocked.

Contra Costa Community College District Facilities Planner Ray Pyle said it is impossible to make the building completely off limits because the college must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Pyle said ADA access cannot be closed because its elevator is needed to bring people with disabilities from the lower part of campus up to the Physical Science and Biology buildings using the elevated walkway that connects to the second floor of the LA Building.

“Because the college is built on a hillside the sky-bridge is a major path of travel for people with disabilities,” he said.

Business Services Manager Mariles Magalong said President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh held a meeting to figure out how to provide ADA access once the Allied Science and Health Project’s construction begins and the LA Building is torn down.

“(This) week we are going to be meeting to start the discussion about implementing a shuttle service as an option,” Magalong said.

King said the college plans to tear down the LA Building within two years using about $56 million out of the $95 million available through 2014 Measure E funding.

Pyle said while there are no finalized plans, he and his team are analyzing the campus for alternate ADA access routes with architects.

“With any building not in use we would like to get people out and tear it down as soon as possible, but we cannot do that without an ADA access plan,” he said.