College’s $7 million library in the works | TahoeDailyTribune.com

College’s $7 million library in the works

William Ferchland

With the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s final approval and bidding ending this week, the birth of Lake Tahoe Community College’s library is getting closer.

Last week the TRPA governing board approved the building permit for the $7 million, 26,619-square-foot building. Bids from contractors are due Thursday.

Jon Stephens, vice president of business services, said on Friday that no bids have been received since contractors bide time to look at commodity prices.

“That’s pretty common. You get them all the last day … It’s pretty rare a contractor would turn in a bid early,” Stephens said.

Once a contractor is selected, they will have five days to prepare a building timeline, including the groundbreaking date. Official approval will be made by college trustees during a May 25 meeting. Officials are aiming for a November 2005 opening.

The estimated price tag of $7 million is completely covered by Proposition 47 money. The proposition, approved by California voters in November 2002, provided $13.1 billion to state schools for capital improvements.

Slight changes have been made to the architectural plans. One dealt with the number of trees that will be eliminated. Under the plan approved by TRPA, four trees, including a dead pine, will be downed instead of a dozen.

A $500,000 art gallery will be included in the plans. Stephens said donations have reached past the halfway point.

“I have back-up financing in case the pledges don’t come in on time,” Stephens said.

The existing library will be turned into administrative offices and at least one classroom. Work will begin on that area in January 2006, Stephens said.

The extra classroom will be needed. After a record enrollment last spring, numbers are still holding up this year. In spring 2002, the college reported 2,976 students. The following year had a bumper crop of students of an additional 516. This spring had a slight decrease of enrollment yet the number is still impressive at 3,203 students.

“We had some losses of jobs in the area,” Stephens said. “We also had a lot of high school grads who stayed here.”

Trustee Ken Rollston said the upcoming arrival of the library comes at a good time when the county library has seen its hours slashed because of budget cuts.

“It really hasn’t been all that long when we were still in a recycled motel and I think it does make a difference to have the permanent campus turn out the way it has,” he said.

– E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com.


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