The slowdown in student activity during the summer belies the hectic pace of construction projects as Cal Poly Pomona’s transition to the semester calendar looms.
The Department of Facilities Planning & Management is working through blistering conditions to finish projects before students return for fall classes. For the first time, those classes start on Aug. 23, a month earlier than under the previous quarter system.
That change also has prompted Facilities Planning & Management to adjust its timetable for projects, which loses four weeks of construction time. The ramped-up construction schedule also aims to avoid disruptions to students adjusting to the new semester system.
The construction of the Student Services Building and the Student Housing Replacement Project are the most visible projects to the campus community. But there is ancillary work linked to these projects. A walkway construction project that includes landscaping is part of the new Student Services Building. Parking Lots B and P have been closed since mid-June to allow for the installation of a natural gas pipeline to the new student housing and dining complex. The landscape and pipeline projects are scheduled to be completed before fall classes get underway.
“There is always something happening on campus in terms of construction, whether it’s a capital project, maintenance or a repair,” said Dan Johnson, interim associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management. “This summer has been busier than usual because of semester conversion, but we are making sure that the projects initiated before the summer are finished before classes start.”
Those projects aim to take advantage of the summer slowdown on campus, when the student population takes a precipitous drop and allows crews to work without causing significant impact to classes or navigation around campus.
A Tight Schedule
The window for summer work started right after Commencement. There are a half-dozen projects that are underway or are scheduled to be finished before the semester begins in about a month:
- The Fire Alarm Upgrade project’s summer phase, which started in mid-June, is on track. The Biotechnology Building, Engineering Laboratories and the Children’s Center are the first of about 45 buildings across the campus to be fitted with new components to boost emergency response capacity.
- Work to remove asbestos has closed the Art Department and Engineering Annex (Building 13). The project is scheduled to be completed in mid-August.
- Project Blue, which seeks to restore a riparian habitat behind Building 1 and serve as an outdoor classroom, is scheduled to be completed before the fall semester starts.
- Roof replacement on a portion of the classroom side of the CLA Buildings is expected to be completed in late July.
- Campus sewer lines were cleaned and inspected in a project that concluded at the end of June.
- Fire alarm testing and fire sprinkler upgrades have been conducted in various buildings during the summer to limit disturbance to occupants.
In addition, there are at least another half-dozen smaller projects scheduled across the campus, including a new air-conditioning system in Kellogg Gym. Facilities also has initiated meetings with stakeholders to work out the logistics of moving personnel from the CLA Building to the new Student Services Building late this year.
Projects in the Pipeline
Even after the summer projects have been completed, others are on the horizon:
- Discussions with campus stakeholders on the Modular Data Center continue. The new data center would expand the university’s data storage capability and meet the anticipated needs of future generations of tech-savvy students.
- Meetings are underway on a project to erect a cover over the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center arena, allowing the famed horse shows to be staged even in inclement weather.
- Sessions continue with the design consultant on the Electrical Infrastructure Upgrade project, which would double the electrical capacity on campus and accommodate technological innovations of the coming decades.
- The initial fundraising goal for the new Rose Float Lab and Design Complex has been reached and plans are moving forward to break ground on the facility at the end of the year.
In the midst of the university’s transition to the first semester system, the process of preparing projects for construction has remained unimpeded. That is in addition to scheduled maintenance work to campus facilities and emergency repairs.
“Regardless of the season, the work in Facilities is constant,” Johnson said. “We are doing everything we can to meet the needs of the campus community while at the same time helping to ensure student success.”