No swings taken during demolition

By Colin Phan - Staff Reporter

Building 26 was scheduled to have its demolition day on Monday, but nothing was actually demolished.

Monday marked a building-breaking ceremony to kick off the $30 million project. Members of the Board of Trustees, and elected officials including State Rep. Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way, and State Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, were present for the ceremony.

The Building 26 project will turn the 42-year-old structure into Highline's Health Sciences facility. Building 26 was previously scheduled to undergo renovation last year, but the capital budget wasn't passed by the Legislature until January 2018.

The capital budget was held up due to a dispute between Democrats and Republicans, but after gaining majority in the Senate, Democrats passed a budget in the last legislative session, freeing up funds for the project.

Actual construction by Pease Construction commences Monday with a tentative completion date of September 2019. The architect is McGranahan Architects.

Once the building is complete, the new structure will feature 46,068 square feet of classroom, lab, office, and study space. It is the college's first significant capital project in more than a decade and will be LEED-Silver certified, meaning the building will be healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving to operate. It will be the first such building on campus.

Completion of the Building 26 renovation will allow the college to consolidate all of its health and wellness-related programs into one building.

Highline Capital and Facilities Project Manager Christina Neville-Neil said that everything went smoothly on Monday.

"Everything went as planned," Neville-Neil said. "Interim President Jeff Wagnitz welcomed everyone and recognized the Board of Trustees members and elected officials. They all donned hard hats and held sledgehammers and shovels for a photo in front of the building with some students from the Health Sciences program."

With the building breaking ceremony in the books, the Building 26 project will be advancing to the next phase.

Neville-Neil said that there will be a few things done to the interior of the building next.

"The contractor is preparing to install a construction fence around the building," Neville-Neil said. "The first phase of demolition will be the asbestos abatement and demolition of the interior walls."

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