Fullerton College Breaks Ground on $54 Million Building

Fullerton College celebrated the groundbreaking of the new $54 million Instructional Building on Thursday, February 20. The Instructional Building is the college’s first new construction in 10 years, and its first progressive design-build project.  Located between the 1400 and 1200 buildings, the new three-story building will improve students’ educational experience, both in and out of the classroom.

President Schulz speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony

See more photos from the day on Facebook.

More than 100 guests attended the groundbreaking ceremony led by President Greg Schulz and featured speakers from the Humanities Division, BNBuilders, and Roesling Nakamura Terada (RNT) Architects and North Orange County Community College District leadership.

“For many years, the academic departments, faculty and staff from Humanities, our largest academic division, have been dispersed throughout our college campus. This new building will bring them together under one roof and provide a unique opportunity for community building and a sense of belonging for our students,” Schulz said.

Currently, the Humanities Division occupies 43 classrooms—many in temporary facilities—scattered across the campus. The new 74,927-square-foot building will bring together Communication Studies, English, English as a Second Language, Foreign Languages and Reading departments for the first time in the history of the college. The building will complement the style of its neighboring historic buildings and is anticipated to open in the summer of 2021.

Building features include:

  • 50 classrooms (including two computer labs)
  • division office
  • adjunct faculty area with student conference space
  • 37 shared faculty offices
  • 73-person conference room
  • two smaller conference rooms (for 8–12 people)
  • central courtyard
  • faculty/staff lounge
  • male/female restrooms on each floor
  • six gender-inclusive restrooms
  • lactation room
  • elevators

“This building will be nothing less than transformative to the daily lives of the students, faculty, staff, and administration in the Humanities Division,” said Dan Willoughby, dean of the Humanities Division. “For this, we are eternally grateful to the voters and taxpayers of North Orange County for supporting Measure J, as well as to the current and former Board of Trustees members who approved this project.”

Additional speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony were NOCCCD Board of Trustees President Ryan Bent, Chancellor Cheryl Marshall, English Department Coordinator Michael Mangan, Student Madison Devries, Ralph Roesling with RNT Architects, and Doug Allen, preconstruction manager from BNBuilders. Many of the remarks at the ceremony centered on the positive impact the building will have on all the Humanities disciplines and co-curricular programs such as Speech and Debate.

Mangan took the opportunity to not only look forward but to look back and cherish the memory of colleague Amanda Walzer, whose life was tragically cut short by an intoxicated driver in 2016. He read Walzer’s poem “Middle School Open House,” which shared a mother’s observations of her son’s fleeting youth. The moment also served as a reminder of the power of words that so many Humanities disciplines will practice in their new home, once built.

“As the name implies, today is about nuts and bolts and steel and glass and concrete and wires, etc. The material world,” Mangan said. “But the disciplines of the Humanities Division are dedicated first and foremost to the art of language, which is to say the abstract world.  Ideas, thoughts, words.  Truths that we encourage our students to seek even if, or especially if, they’re unattainable. We strive to endow our students with habits of mind that transcend the nuts and bolts mindset that admittedly continues to prevail in the 21st century because we know that once the material has faded, as it always does, the words will remain.”

Devries, a member of the Speech and Debate team, president of the German Club and Associated Students Senator, spoke eloquently on how students and faculty will benefit from the new building.

Trustee President Bent graciously thanked voters for approving Measure J in 2014, adding that the $54 million project accounts for 9.5 percent of the $574 million bond measure.

“Considering that many residents, who are paying for this bond, may not directly benefit the same way our students will, we are extremely thankful for the high-value they place on our local community college education and for entrusting our campuses to train the future workforce, who will contribute to our local economy and the greatness of our nation,” Bent said.  “Thank you to our residents for their sacrifice and personal commitment to our campuses; the funding you have provided will make a substantial difference.”

In addition to the building, construction will include upgrading the existing central plant for the campus with new energy-efficient systems to accommodate the new building and future developments on the campus.

Many people have participated in the development of the project.

“It was a pleasure to participate in the design of this project in collaboration with the energetic team of the division dean, faculty, students, the campus administration and the builders, BNB. This new facility will be a very welcoming courtyard classroom building filled with natural light along with many amenities and spaces for inspired teaching and learning. Our team worked very hard to appropriately fit this building into the very unique Fullerton campus context,” said Ralph Roesling, FAIA, Principal at RNT Architects.

Schulz echoed the same comments. “Thank you to our partners at RNT Architects and BNBuilders and our Hornet team members Vice President Rod Garcia, Project Manager Oscar Saghieh, Assistant Project Manager Megan Moscol, Facilities Director Larry Lara, Dean Willoughby, and the entire Building User Group, which clocked many hours making sure we build something truly inspiring and useful,” he said.

Members of the Building User Group (BUG) met for many months with Fullerton College’s capital projects management team, architects and builders to ensure that the building meets the needs of students, faculty and staff. Members of the BUG are Joe Carrithers, Arthur Hui, Kelly Kim, Jeanette Rodriguez, Stephanie Piazza, Amy Shrack, Kent Stevenson, Willoughby, and students Antonio Grande, Ozzy Ordaz, and Alice Kang.

Jamie Awford, Principal at BNBuilders, states, “The collaboration with Fullerton College and RNT Architects has been seamless over the past two years getting this project ready for construction, including direct input from multiple departments, faculty, staff, and students on how this building needs to work.  It’s very rewarding to work with such outstanding partners, and to be part of helping challenge, shape, and educate the minds of future generations.”


About BNBuilders

Founded in 2000 in Seattle, BNBuilders is a West Coast general contractor that specializes in complex projects for clients in the life sciences, education, healthcare, public, and technology sectors. They are known for their innovative solutions to highly technical issues, comprehensive preconstruction services, passion for sustainable construction practices, and commitment to the communities in which they do business. With four offices, 700+ employees, and a strong presence in the California and Washington construction markets, BNBuilders is a leader and preferred contractor on the West Coast. For more information, visit www.bnbuilders.com.

About RNT Architects

Approaching its 40-year anniversary, Roesling Nakamura Terada (RNT) Architects is the creative force behind some of Southern California’s most iconic places. The award-winning architecture and planning firm has completed more than 1,000 projects since its inception in 1980.  RNT has offices in San Diego and Ventura, CA; Osaka, Japan; and a sister studio in San Francisco, CA.  Clients and projects range in scope from small to large-scale environments to city-wide planning and urban design projects.  For more information, visit: rntarchitects.com.

Author: Fullerton College

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