New Halls, Dirty Stalls: AA Building renovations leave students holding their breath

By Editorial Board

Since the $5 million project to renovate the Applied Arts Building began last fall, campus administrators assured students and faculty still using the building during construction that inconveniences, when controllable, would be kept to a minimum.

This has not been the case.

The problems soared past inconvenient or unacceptable and reached an unhealthy level April 23 when both toilets in a building of hundreds of students and faculty overflowed with urine and feces due to overuse by 2 p.m. — and remained that way for hours.

It was a particularly warm Monday afternoon and the smell could be detected from the moment students walked through the new sliding-electric doors that seem to always be under repair.

The downstairs men’s rest room, the only men’s rest room currently operational in the building, was eerily damp and there were no paper towels for hand drying, meaning adequate washing was no longer an option.

Nothing that left that room could ever be considered clean.

The Advocate posted a video of the bathroom on Twitter at @cccadvocate on April 23 at 5:28 p.m.

According to the California Department of Education, the 2013 California Plumbing Code referenced in the K-12 toilet requirements lists as a specification one toilet per 50 students and one urinal per 100.

There are two toilets and three urinals for all of the men who use the building, clearly a violation.

The AA Building houses Middle College High School (MCHS), Gateway to College students, CCC students and the professors who instruct them.

MCHS students earn a high school diploma while working toward a degree and the Gateway program provides a range of college prep, academic support, social and emotional health services to high school level students.

Forcing students to use a rest room that is a virtual petri dish of infectious bacteria is deplorable, bordering on sadistic behavior.

Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says germs often spread when a person touches a surface or object that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes or mouth.

It also says disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, like the flu, can help slow the spread of influenza.

The men’s rest room in the AA Building has all the charm and cleanliness of a trash laden alley in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, accompanied by the aroma of spoiled milk and fermented Parmesan cheese as accoutrements.

Whoever deemed this an adequate representation of a learning environment should be forced to only use these facilities while on campus for a week. Only after experiencing a rest room as repulsive as the one students in the AA Building are forced to utilize, will those in power realize how much a solution is needed.

Administrators from both high schools on campus have complained of the problems since September.

By February, during a College Council meeting, Gateway to College Manager Karl Debro, whose office is in the AA Building, told CCC Business Services Director Mariles Magalong that the building was fast becoming the “Iron Triangle” of the campus and that something needed to be done.

It seems his complaints have fallen on deaf ears.