Delays continue to halt the removal of the antiquated buildings on campus.
By Solomon Smith, Political News Editor
New and returning Valley College students enjoy the modern design of the Allied Health and Sciences Center, the comfort of the Community Services Building and the soon-to-be-complete Valley Academic and Cultural Center, while the asbestos-riddled, fenced-in bungalows remain a stark reminder of how much further the campus has to go.
When asked about the delays, Vice President of Adminstrative Services Mike Lee pointed to the convoluted political process of a major public project.
“I’ve been here four years and, in that time, we’ve had four buildings go up,” said Lee. “It takes time to implement a master plan.”
The original campus itself was built in three phases, taking almost 20 years to complete according to the LAVC History webpage. Originally built in the early 1950s, the blocky structures were intended to be a temporary solution for a growing student body but soon became permanent. Their removal was revisited with Proposition A, which was a plan to rebuild and modernize the LACCD back in 2001. Initially, their destruction was delayed as a matter of mismanagement resulting in a five-year building moratorium starting in 2011, according to the Los Angeles Times. The delay was also partly due to the price of removal sky-rocketing with the discovery of massive amounts of asbestos, raising the cost to remove some of the buildings to almost $100,000 according to Erika Endrijonas, the president of Valley.
The buildings can also cause safety concerns. In recent years, the campus Sheriff’s Department has had to deal with several calls about the buildings. During inclement weather, the bungalows had become a safe space for many seeking shelter and several incidents, from sleeping on campus to individuals climbing to the roof, were reported. A fence has been added around the perimeter, a visible band-aid to the problem.
“It was a response to the overall safety of the campus and preparing for demolition,” according to Lee.
The bungalows are set to be removed in three phases, according to Tom Lopez, the director of facilities, with each phase having an estimated cost of $4.1 million. Although the money is budgeted, unfinished water reclamation projects, and committee approvals continue to cause delays. All of these issues do not amount to an actual timeline for destruction, and when pressed, no one has any real answers about when it will happen.
“At this point there’s not a hard date right now,” said Lopez.