Setbacks, issues cause delays in Chemistry Building construction

Construction workers on the site of the new OCC Chemistry Building on Monday, set to be completed in spring 2025.  

Orange Coast College has faced a number of delays in the construction of the new Chemistry Building taking the place of the old Literature and Language Building.

The initial date of completion is looking less attainable according to Vice President of Administrative Services Rich Pagel.

“Our major partner in our steel fabrication, Columbia Steel, went out of business,” Pagel said. “Those contracts for steel [were] an important part of the structure, so we had to go to another vendor.”

Due to the closure, builders were left in a tough situation.

“Steel is a critical point,” Pagel said. “You need to put it in first before you can build the building.”

Along with delays on the structural side of the construction, crews were forced to pump water out of the site following the heavy storms this winter. 

New contracting agreements have since been finalized and construction is underway. After factoring in delays, construction is set to be complete in spring 2025. 

The funding for the ongoing construction is coming from a Costa Mesa property tax assessment called Measure M. The 2012 measure gives the Coast Community College District $698 million to, as stated on the Measure M district fact sheet, repair and upgrade buildings on campus. 

Some projects funded by Measure M include the Maritime Academy, the Planetarium, the Math, Business and Computing Center, the Literature, Languages and Social Sciences Building, the new Student Union, as well as others.

On the east side of the Literature and Language building, a dirt lot has remained vacant through the Spring 2022 semester. Pagel said that it is used as parking for the OCC Swap Meet that takes place every weekend in the Adams parking lot. There are currently no plans to build on this plot.


OCC officials have also planned the demolition of other buildings around campus, including the old pool complex, the Social and Behavioral Sciences buildings and the old Journalism building, along with Writer’s Row. The destruction of these buildings is set to start in summer 2023 and last through fall 2024.

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