Another new building part of OCC upgrades

A new building is underway between the MBCC building and the Associated Students Bookstore.

A new 170,760-square-foot, three-story building will be constructed in the space between the MBCC and Associated Students Bookstore warehouse, just north of the existing Social Science building.

The site has seen a flurry of activity over the past couple of weeks, with earth movers working to grade the entire area.

“We’ve got a great construction team on board,” Rich Pagel, vice president of Administrative Services said.

According to Pagel, the architects worked with faculty to meet their dreams and desires for the new academic space.

The new building will feature a second-level pedestrian walkway from the MBCC, and, in addition to psychology and sociology classrooms, an anthropology lab with a simulated dig site.

The Literature and Languages division side of the building will include communication, ESL, literature classrooms and a new newsroom for the Coast Report.

Before work started, a construction fence was put up to enclose the area, blocking a portion of the access road many students use as an alternate route to the Quad, Watson Hall and other campus buildings.

According to Pagel, the detour that directs students via the walkway in front of classrooms along the Social Science building is only temporary. Access and traffic patterns should return to normal by the beginning of the spring semester.

The use of heavy equipment has been operating just a few yards from classes. Their presence was noticed by Kat Futch, a sociology major.

“The actual process of construction is seemingly nine-to-five right here in front of the Social Science building and these walls are very, very thin,” Futch said. “It’s important as a student and constituent of the campus to see the campus making strides toward bettering student experience for future semesters to come. But flexibility and being able to move across areas directly affected by noise pollution would be really nice.”

The structure will provide a modern and enhanced learning environment for both the Literature and Languages, and the Social and Behavioral Sciences divisions.

Pagel said he and his team have worked closely with the deans of both divisions to include them in the design process and provide support spaces for associated departments as well.

Like the other construction projects on campus, they were made possible by Measure M funding, said Pagel. The master plans have been in the works for many years and are finally coming to fruition.

Completion of the new structure is scheduled for April 2021, and open for the first group of students to utilize in fall 2021.

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