By Ivan Cazares
East Los Angeles College has several construction projects in progress and it has faced multiple obstacles that have delayed those projects.
ELAC President Marvin Martinez said the construction of the Student Success and Retention Center and the Campus Student Center will be completed before the end of the year.
Both buildings were scheduled to be completed in February, according to a project summary published by JACOBS Project Management Co. in March 2014.
English classes are already scheduled in the Student Success and Retention Center for winter and spring 2016.
The Retention Center will be the largest building in the district when it is completed.
“I need to sign off on the building before they turn over the keys. If it’s not ready, then I can’t,” Martinez said.
The building must meet federal, state and local requirements for structure, fire and safety before it is occupied.
The classes in F9 will be transferred to the the Retention Center when the building is completed.
The F9 bungalows would have been removed when the Retention Center was completed, however, Martinez said ELAC’s population is growing faster than the school expected.
He plans on purchasing new bungalows to host additional classes.
The Distance Education Program Office outgrew its office space and was transferred to ELAC’s recently purchased Corporate Center.
The Payroll, Personnel, Purchasing and Budget Office previously located in G1 was also transferred.
Administrative Services was transferred to the third floor of G1 where the ELAC Foundation’s office was located and the Foundation was transferred to the Corporate Center.
In response to Assembly Bill 86, the unoccupied office space will be used to host adult education classes.
The bill grants schools money to better serve the educational needs of adults.
Martinez described it as a continuation school with its own office.
Construction of the new Science Career and Mathematics building is scheduled to be completed in 2017.
Martinez said the exterior of this building has yet to be completed, and the impending storm “El Nino” might delay construction.
When it is completed, G8 and H8 will be demolished.
G8 will be replaced by a two story building and H8 by more bungalows.
“Anymore construction would be out of our budget,” Martinez said.
The Retention Center is 90 percent complete, the Campus Center is 75 percent complete and the Math and Science Building is almost 40 percent complete.
Construction on a building that will replace the South Gate Educational Center is scheduled to start in summer 2016. This project has faced the most setbacks. It’s been in the works since 2003.
ELAC faces the challenge of hiring new faculty and staff to accommodate the school’s growth.
The current maintenance staff isn’t enough to service the new buildings. Custodians, engineers and foremen must be hired. ELAC must hire 60 classified staff members.
Classified staff must go through a four-year probationary period that is extended to 10 years if completed.
A probationary committee must be established by the Faculty Senate for each new classified staff member.
“Hiring staff is one of my most important jobs. They will have an impact on students’ lives. I want it to be a positive impact,” Martinez said.
The state provides some funding to accommodate ELAC’s growth. However the college must use some of its general funding for the hiring process.