New to campus? Here's a few quick tips
By Alexis Morales - Staff Reporter
Due to the Legislature not approving a new state capital budget, the start date for the renovation on Building 26 has been set back for an indeterminate amount of time.
Thinking they would have a budget, over the summer Highline allowed the Des Moines and Kent police departments to use the building for emergency "entry" practice, further damaging the aging structure.
College officials expected the building wouldn't be used again. But majority Senate Republicans refused to pass a capital budget without an agreement on a water rights dispute.
"The effects were lasting, they did a little love all over the place," Highline Facilities Director Barry Holldorf said of the police exercise.
"They were using paint bullets, exploding some door locks, blowing holes through some walls to practice how they would do that in real life, as well as having the shooter run around with the hostage."
The building might have to stay in its current state until a capital budget is approved by the Legislature. After which the next step would be to go through the rebid process, which Holldorf expects to take another six to eight months.
"If by some miracle the Legislature pulls a Hail Mary during special session in November, we may see something in December," Holldorf said, "Otherwise I think it will be more January that the governor and Legislature get together, which would mean we would probably go out to rebid for the funds around May."
This would set the project's date to break ground all the way into September 2018. With the renovation process expected to take 16 months to complete, that would move the project into a new budget biennium, which might hold further unforeseen risks and issues.
"In fact, I went back to the state website and all of our, programmed and planned biennium state capital budget items, have been removed. Been scrubbed off their website, with only our local projects still sit on the state board website, which are local projects that the college is going to pay for with our local funds," said Holldorf.
"First time I've seen that happen. But it's also the first time we've not had a state budget," Holldorf said.
As for the classes scheduled to be held in Building 26, they will be held in one of the five rooms that didn't take on much damage. Though due to the quick change of plans, the classrooms will only be able to have the bare minimum amount of equipment.
Even though they stripped the building of electronics, cables were left connected so the classes will have a projector.
"A lot of that building had been torn up, so redeploying back into it was an afterthought. We had thought we were OK, until we found out no capital budget. Which means, we blew up the building a little bit too early," said Holldorf.
The rooms will however be functional. With chairs, a projector, and a little teacher space, as Halldorf put it "It won't be pretty, but it will work."
"Overall we won't have any horrible issues due to the budget cuts. The only other budget that I had capital wise, is the elevator failure in Building 6, and with that I'm going to move forward with the local funds because of the need for access services," Holldorf said.
Highline had initially planned for renovations Building 26 for more program space and making room to rehouse the faculty that would be displaced from the demolition planned to happen on Building 5 and Building 11.
When the project is finally underway, the 42-year-old building is finally getting an update, and being brought up to code.
The building was erected in 1975, and has had a lot of deferred maintenance that now can be performed with the new renovations, such as: an elevator upgrade, earthquake improvements, and an update on fire systems.
In addition to this, Building 5 and Building 11, which currently house of 44 faculty offices, will be demolished due to safety concerns. Faculty will be housed in both Building 26 and some additional buildings, once the renovation process is complete.
The new and improved Building 26 will have an additional 15,000 square feet, more windows for more natural daylight, and the new Building 6 will be skinned in a polycarbonate plastic.
"We're adding newer materials to make it look more inviting, and to make it more modern. Instead of the concrete jungle that the is building now," Facilities Director Barry Holldorf said.
With the new upgrades and modifications to the building, it will also become the first LEED Silver building on campus, meeting the state requirement. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and, according to the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services' 2014 Biennial Legislative report, the new guidelines for any major facilities projects funded via the state capital budget at any public agency.
"Students are our main concern so we are working tirelessly to get everything all worked out," Holldorf said.