GOCC selects architect for south side campus renovation

CENTREVILLE — As Glen Oaks Community College prepares to tackle renovating the south side of its campus, the college’s Board of Trustees selected an architect for the project Thursday.

Design Collaborative, an architectural firm out of Fort Wayne, Ind., was the architect selected unanimously by the board. The selection came following a presentation by one of the firm’s senior associates, Jeremiah Hatfield, during the meeting.

The firm has worked with the college in the past, helping them to do a facility assessment project in 2018.

Currently, the plan for the south side renovation involves work on the exterior of the building, renovation of the Nora Hagen Theater, a roof on the building, and new locker rooms. Other work previously mentioned by Devier included upgrades to the D wings, foyer upgrades, and new bathrooms.

While Design Collaborative will be the architect for the south side, it is a different firm than the one handling the currently ongoing renovation on the north side of campus, TowerPinkster. GOCC President Dr. David Devier said while it may seem odd, he called it necessary to do, indirectly calling out TowerPinkster in the process.

“I don’t want to go into any serious conversation about that, other than we need to make a change,” Devier said. “We’re just not at all pleased with what we have.”

GOCC Vice President of Finance Bruce Zakrzewski was a bit more blunt, saying TowerPinkster has been “awful to work with.” He said out of the companies that responded to a request for quotes sent out by the college, Design Collaborative had the best presentation.

Because Design Collaborative was chosen through a request for quote process, the college still needs to negotiate a contract with the firm. If negotiations for contracted services with Design Collaborative fall through, the college would negotiate with Arkos, the second-place bidder. Devier said if both Design Collaborative and Arkos fall through, they would not negotiate with the third-place firm, which they said were a “distant” third.

Devier also discussed the renovation itself earlier in the meeting. Part of the discussion involved how the project has “morphed” over time, giving the example of the upcoming renovations to the Nora Hagen Theatre, which has gotten more instructional use during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular for its nursing program. Devier called the area a “terrible place to do instruction,” adding it had been neglected for a long time, and said the area will be one of the big priorities to be worked on.

“As we started talking about what’s going to happen in the future with instruction, we realized our first-year nursing program has 40 students, and the second year can have as many as 48,” Devier said. “We came to the conclusion that we are probably going to have to continue to use the Hagen Theatre for instruction for the foreseeable future because of its size.”

As far as an estimated cost for the south side renovation, Devier said he wasn’t sure as of yet, as the architectural firm would have to give that cost estimate before the college goes to the United States Department of Agriculture for a loan. He compared the project to the north side renovation, which cost $7.3 million, saying the cost of the south side could “easily” be at least $7 million as well.

Devier said he hopes to have cost estimates available for the project by June, adding the “perfect scenario” for starting construction could be next year.

In other business…

  • The board approved a preliminary budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Zakrzewski said the preliminary budget is “nowhere near” the final budget for the college, but said they have to pass a preliminary one because of state statute.
  • The board approved a change to rates and credit hour requirements for student housing during the summer semester. The changes go into place after graduation, and run through August.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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