At the August 6th, 2019 meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Flamer recommended that the Board approve the demolition of the Life Science and Physical Science buildings, and that the land be restored and sanitized to return it to a riparian zone.
As background, in fall 2018, Flamer brought key community members together to collect some repurposing ideas for the vacant Life Science (LS) and Physical Science (PS) buildings. He subsequently engaged Greenway Partners, Inc. to identify potential land and building re-purposing use ideas, assess the potential costs, research technical and jurisdictional hurdles, and core development needs underlying each re-purposing idea, and provide a decision-making tree for moving forward.
Greenway Partners' Jim Penny, Project Manager, and Aristea Saulsbury, Associate Project Manager, presented Greenway's findings at the July Board meeting and provided the Trustees with information needed to make a decision about the buildings and land to best serve our Mission. Greenway offered two options to the Board of Trustees.
- Demolish the buildings and either let the land stand vacant or use the land to support our curriculum programming.
- Renovate the buildings to Code for a cost in excess of $5.5 million dollars and continue trying to entice an outside party to come in and invest in the buildings.
At the August Board meeting, President Flamer asked Fred Sturner and Steven Roper, who are in charge of the Utilities Infrastructure Replacement (UIR) project, to discuss some pertinent information relative to the recommendation to demolish the buildings. Here’s a summary of what they shared with the Board:
As a part of the UIR project, the Main Point of Entry (MPOE) for the electrical 12KV service for the entire Eureka Campus is relocated to a new building and new technology.
The UIR project calls for the demolition of the current electrical MPOE located in the Physical Sciences building. We did not originally realize that this demolition effort will compromise the structural integrity of the North-West end of the building.
We cannot leave the building in an unsafe situation. As a result, we will have to take down the Physical Science Building under the UIR project.
There are several additional complications:
The Physical Science and Life Science buildings share several services. They also share a single roof support system. This shared roof support system would require us to pay for an Architect and Structural Engineer to develop a new support system for the Life Sciences Building. This is not a good use of resources.
These buildings also share a single transformer. When the Physical Science building is demolished, there will be no perimeter lighting or any other lighting available in the Life Science building.
The old lab neutralization system is also shared infrastructure between these buildings.
All of the sinks in both buildings flow to this shared resource. This is used to stabilize the PH of the water before it enters the sanitary sewer system. If we do not bring down the Life Sciences building at the same time as Physical Sciences, we will have to cap parts of this system instead of correctly removing all parts of it.
Currently, due to serious mold contamination, we are unable to enter the Life sciences Building. As a result, the pea-traps, floor drains, sink drains and other bathroom fixtures, are drying out.
This allows sewer gasses to enter the building, further creating health and safety problems.
The Board voted unanimously to demolish the buildings. The timing of the demolition is dependent on the completion of the UIR project’s electrical work. In the meantime, President Flamer will ask the Facilities Planning Committee to lead a broad College community discussion relative to how the land can be used to advance the College's Mission, enhance the academic enterprise, and support student success. The discussions will begin this fall.