GCC board OKs plans to renovate two gyms

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Community college trustees on Monday night approved plans for renovating and upgrading the Verdugo and Sierra Nevada gyms.

The projects are expected to cost nearly $17 million, and the college would like the state to foot the bill.

The plans will be submitted by Tuesday to the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, where they will be reviewed and prioritized in relation to other proposed community college construction projects from across the state, said Bill Taylor, Glendale Community College’s director of business services.

The state will likely decide which projects will be approved and which have the highest priority level by the end of 2008, Taylor said.

If the project is approved, the college could receive funds for it in fiscal year 2010-11 at the earliest, Taylor said. Construction could begin the year after that, and the refurbished buildings completed by 2014-15, Taylor said.

Plans call for replacing a portion of the Verdugo gym building’s lower level that was constructed in 1937 and houses the men’s locker room, the weight room and faculty offices. That section of the building would be entirely removed and reconstructed, Taylor said.

That portion of the building is the oldest on campus and has never been renovated, Taylor said. It needs to be torn down and brought up to contemporary standards for withstanding earthquakes, Taylor said.

“It’s not seismically up to code,” he said.

In rebuilding the lower floor of the building, the college would also add locker room facilities for women. Currently, there are no locker room facilities for women in the Verdugo gym, and women use the changing area in the Sierra Nevada gym, which is a separate building on campus.

The Sierra Nevada gym doesn’t have high enough ceilings to be used for certain sports, so it has functioned basically as a dance studio, Taylor said.

A second gym facility would also be added to the upper floor of the Verdugo gym, mostly for athletics practice rather than games. This would allow more athletes to play sports simultaneously, Taylor said.

“We really need a second gym to allow dual sports activity,” he said.

New faculty offices would also be added next to the new gym, and an elevator would be installed to make it accessible for people with disabilities.

The college also would like to install solar panels, to generate power for the college, on the section of the roof that will be built over the second gym. Plans also call for adding a men’s locker room to the Sierra Nevada gym, which currently has only a women’s locker room. That is the only plan for renovation on that gym. The building renovations are needed to update old facilities and make them more welcoming to students, college trustee Armine Hacopian said.

“Our students really deserve a sports facility that’s at least contemporary and meets all the requirements,” she said.

The expanded building will also allow the college to serve more students, Taylor said.

“We could handle more students if we have more facilities,” he said.

The state reviewed the college’s initial plans for the gym buildings last year and approved it, which could bode well for the projects’ chances of receiving final approval, Taylor said.

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