Sciences Building construction well underway at Saddleback College

Construction on the new Sciences Building at Saddleback College continues at a steady pace. (Anibal Santos)

Construction on the new Sciences Building at Saddleback College continues at a steady pace. (Anibal Santos)

In November of 2013, building corporation C.W. Driver began construction for a new Sciences Building at Saddleback College.

The 200-acre college is in its second phase of construction, and according to the Saddleback College Master Plan, many improvements are expected in the next couple of years. Renovation and relocation, new buildings, sitework, infrastructure, maintenance, and development planning are all the main goals of the Master Plan for bettering the campus and college overall.

The new structure is located behind the Student Services Center building, adjacent to parking Lot 7 at the intersection of Library Drive and College Drive East.

There are approximately 120 workers on the job and people are working five or six days a week, according to Nacho Gomez, a laborer on the site.

“We’re going pretty quick, they have a lot of people working here,” Gomez says. “We poured the concrete… [next] come the drywallers [and] the electricians.

In general, there has been noticeable construction at the college and with that comes the audible reminders, often disturbing, from some parts of campus.

“[The noise bothers me] a bit, maybe not in the parking lot so much, but over by the cafeteria, sitting outside I can hear it,” student Jacob Molgan said. “I usually park [near the site] most mornings.”

The funding for the Sciences Building project is a little outdated, but according to  planning records of the South Orange County Community College District, the college has budgeted approximately $58.6 million for total expenses.

The exterior of the current Math, Science and Engineering (MSE) building has undergone slab repair renovations as well because the hillside of the building is slowly slipping. Workers have been seen making adjustments during instruction hours and blocking off usual walkways.

“It’s annoying that they have to be remodeling like this during school hours,” student Brad Brenner said regarding the inconvenience of the slab repairs. “Why can’t they just do it on the weekends when we aren’t trying to get from class to class?”

Richard McCullough, former president of Saddleback College, said of the 2006 Master Plan in an open letter,

“The planning process has been a collaborative effort. Indeed, faculty, administrators, and staff have worked with alacrity to plan ahead with the best interests of the College and our current and future students in mind. Many hours were spent listening, discussing, planning and re-planning the final document with an excitement characteristic of visionary activities. The launch of our Education and Facilities Master Plan comes with a heartfelt wish to continue to serve our students and community to the very best of our ability. The faculty and staff of Saddleback College take great pride in our work, and we believe this plan embodies our commitment to excellence in education.”

In addition to the current MSE building renovations and new construction projects, Phase II of the 2006 Master Plan also specified a new soccer playing and practice field, an artificial turf and seating for the football stadium, a new fine arts building, and a new admissions building. However, the 2011 Master Plan shows projects for 2011-2016 include renovation of the Advanced Technology and Applied Science building and the Main Quad as well as a new “Gateway” building.