Santa Ana College is about a quarter of the way through a multi-year infrastructure upgrade that has replaced much of the campus’ open space and walkways with fences and construction zones. The current project began in fall 2015 and is part of a larger, multi-million dollar, bond-funded renovation that will culminate in 2020 with new science and student centers.
“There will be on-going construction for several years as the Central Plant and Infrastructure project is targeted to complete at the end of 2017,” Vice President of Administrative Services Michael Collins said in an email.
When finished, the new system will include a new Central Plant and an electrical building.
To provide cooling, work is also being done to connect seven existing buildings to the updated Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) equipment.
The improvements are expected to reduce electrical consumption on campus by more than 2 million kilowatt hours each year and save the college a total of about $9 million over the next 20 years.
“Once in service, the new system will reduce the campus peak electrical demand by shifting to off-peak periods,” District Chancellor Raul Rodriguez said in an email update.
Construction is being paid for by $198 million in Measure Q bonds, approved by voters in 2012 to finance renovations, repairs and construction at SAC.
Site improvements have also been made throughout campus with landscaping upgrades, roof repairs and replacements, parking lot updates and new LED lighting.
When the Central Plant project is completed in 2017, the next phases of construction will begin, bringing with them a new science center and a new Johnson Student Center, both expected to open in 2020.
In preparation for demolition of the current center, all of the Johnson Center’s offices and programs were relocated to temporary structures in The Village earlier this year.
During construction, Collins said that parking and traffic flow will be impacted in areas of Lot 9, near the Child Development Center, along Campus Road and near Middle College High School.
Prior to the first day of school, 60 spaces were reopened, while 180 spaces are expected to be added in a planned parking lot at the southeast corner of Bristol and 17th streets.
Faculty and staff spent the first 10 days of the semester helping students navigate the construction-filled campus as part of President Linda Rose’s “Pardon Our Dust” campaign.
During that time, new and returning students didn’t seem to mind the construction.
“I wouldn’t transfer just because I’ve gotten used to it,” fourth-year SAC student Ingrid Diaz said the first day of school. “…It’s not a really big deal for me.”