By Joe Zimmerman
Many general repairs were done on Whatcom’s campus over the summer, but there were two major capital projects started that won’t be done for quite a while.
General repairs include upgrading an engineering classroom in Kulshan Hall, exterior LED light fixtures on Cascade Hall and crosswalk improvements on Kellogg Road.
At the beginning of the summer, a memo was sent to the campus community from Brian Keeley, Senior Director for Facilities and Operations, outlining the projects that took place over the summer and the two major capital projects: the Phyllis & Charles Self-Learning Commons and Residence Hall On-Campus housing.
The Self-Learning Commons is a 65,328 sq. ft. facility that will transition into the new campus library and learning center, supporting students in English and Math, as well as individualized tutoring. Food services, study areas, and a multi-media center will be available on the ground level, as well as expanded tutoring centers on the third floor.
Construction on the learning commons, designed by Schreiber Starling & Whitehead Architects, began in February east of Kulshan hall. Colacurcio Brothers Construction Inc. will be conducting the build until February 2020.
The other major capital project is the construction of Residences Hall, an on-campus housing complex located on Kellogg Road adjacent to Heiner Center.
Construction of Residences Hall will begin in September east of campus on Kellogg Road, expected to be finished in May 2020.
There will be apartment style-rooms, as well as outdoor recreation and social areas. The complex will house approximately 230 beds in four-bedroom, two-bedroom, and studio units complete with kitchenettes and small living rooms.
In the article “Student housing in the works” by Ken Johnson published in the May 22nd, 2018 issue, Nathan Langstraat, the vice president of administrative services, said the outdoor area surrounding the housing complex “will have gardens, a hammock area, and barbecues for residents.”
Smaller projects have been completed over the summer by the maintenance staff and Colacurcio Brothers Construction.
Pedestrian safety has always been an issue on a campus split by Kellogg road, a well-traveled route. Addressing those concerns, Whatcom has hired Zervas Group Architects, K-Engineers, and Wilson Engineering to improve the crosswalks going from Kulshan Hall to Heiner and from Cascade to Laidlaw. Improvements will include overhead lighting, a signal light, and additional signs.
A smaller project, taken on by the Whatcom maintenance staff over the summer, included upgrading the engineering classroom Room 205 in Kulshan Hall to support lab and lecture-intensive courses. Both Whatcom Engineering and Facilities Departments consulted in the room’s design.
The maintenance staff also replaced outdated light fixtures with low-wattage LED fixtures in an effort to improve lighting around campus and reduce Whatcom’s energy usage.