Construction officials showed off Modesto Junior College's new 455-space parking lot on Tully Road last week, then turned their attention to the next six months, during which the Yosemite Community College District will spend $100 million in construction.
Five years after voters approved Measure E, district officials will spend nearly one-third of the school bond's proceeds on construction projects, such as a building on MJC's West Campus for nursing and other health programs and a building for the automotive program at Columbia College in the foothills.
YCCD is the parent district for the two colleges.
"The projects are like a bell curve and we're approaching the middle," said Matt Kennedy, construction manager.
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Nine projects will start construction during the second half of 2009, including a softball complex and agriculture pavilion on MJC's West Campus and the Science and Natural Resources Building at Columbia.
An unintended benefit of taking years to start spending the bond money is that with the struggling economy, the construction bids are coming in under estimates.
Officials had projected construction for MJC's Allied Health Building at about $16 million. Bids came in last week, and the highest was about $10.5 million, said Tim Nesmith, YCCD director of facilities, planning and operations.
Measure E increases property taxes to pay for renovation and building projects. The money cannot be used for employee salaries or student programs.
The auditorium at College and Stoddard avenues was finished last summer. The east campus project cost $33 million and houses the performing arts and broadcast departments.
The east campus's parking lot opened last week. It will alleviate some of the parking headaches at the landlocked campus. Officials had planned on a parking garage across the street, but instead chose the parking lot as a short-term solution because it could be done faster and cheaper -- $4 million.
On the horizon:
Officials are expanding the agriculture program's space and moving resources from the east to the west campus. Beef and sheep units are going up on the west campus. They should be finished by the end of this year.
After a two-year delay because of testing that found contaminated soil from the campus's former life as an Army base, agriculture student interns should have a home by January.
MJC supplies housing on the west campus for the 25 to 30 students who work 10 to 20 hours each week on campus. The project will cost $3.3 million.
West Side students should have a satellite site in Patterson open for limited classes by January. The cost is $5 million.
Officials are accepting bids for the Allied Health Building and Science Community Center. They will be built on the same quad on the west campus. Construction should start on both within six months. Allied Health will cost about $20.8 million with the science center topping out at $70 million. They will be two of the campus's marquee buildings funded by Measure E.
One of the first projects done with Measure E money, the college's bus loop was finished at the end of 2006 and cost $720,000.
The first large-scale project finished was expansion of the Public Safety Center, which houses the firefighter program and security department. The cost was $2.8 million; the building opened this summer.
Expanding the vocational education program's space was done this summer when the Mahogany (formerly the Madrone) building was finished at a cost of $3.4 million. The building houses auto and welding classes.
On the horizon:
Construction of the Child Development Center should be done by spring. The cost is about $9.2 million.
The most expensive project is the Science and Natural Resources Building at $22.5 million.
Officials are accepting bids and hope to start work in the fall for completion in late winter 2011. The 32,589-square-foot building will house the physics, chemistry and natural resources programs and include classrooms, labs, offices and a cadaver room. It will be a model of green design and sustainable architecture, officials said.
Both colleges have many more projects on tap at later dates. Officials hope to have them wrapped up in 2014, closing Measure E's 10-year life span.
For more information about Measure E projects, including project descriptions, timelines and artist renderings, go to www.yosemite.edu/bond.
Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2339.