College of the Redwoods and Greenway Partners have entered into an agreement concerning the repurposing of the original Life Science and Physical Science buildings on the Eureka campus. Due to restrictions from the Field Act relative to earthquake safety, CR had to replace the original buildings with the new Humanities and Science Buildings and can no longer require students to enter the buildings or hold classes there.
As former science classrooms, they offer many unique features such as wet labs and a tiered lecture theater and were designed with considerable input from CR’s first president, Dr. Eugene Portugal. They are an important part of CR’s rich history and instead of tearing them down, the college would like to use the buildings for something that fills a need in the area and creates a bridge between the college and the community.
The college wanted to integrate internal and external community participation in every level of decision-making related to repurposing the vacant buildings. With this in mind, the college invited a group of business, government and non-profit leaders to campus for a series of brainstorming and visioning meetings last fall. Although the meetings generated interesting ideas for what that partnership might look like – a retirement home where nursing students could do clinical rotations, a conference center with lodging, or a STEAM center/business incubator – by the end of the sessions it was clear that CR and its potential community partners would need more information about what the college’s options and limitations are.
CR entered into an agreement with Greenway Partners, a project management firm based in Arcata, to sort through and build on the existing knowledge. Greenway Partners will lead the research to provide more detailed information intended to illuminate the options and limitations facing CR.
According to Dr. Keith Flamer, President of College of the Redwoods, “We are excited about the energy and enthusiasm that the community has brought to this process already, and we look forward to seeing what Greenway Partners will add to our existing ideas. We hope to not have to take the buildings down; that would be our least desirable option.”
Bruce Emad, President of the CR Board of the Trustees agrees, adding, “The Board sees the collaboration between the College of the Redwoods and Greenway as an important step forward in unlocking the potential these vacant buildings have to strengthen the partnership between CR and our community.”
With the help of Greenway, the college hopes to find a project that supports both the educational goals of the college as well as economic development in the community, has a reliable funding source to ensure longevity, is socially responsible, and is multi-use in nature.