Published May 5, 2014
By Ty Beaver, Tri-City Herald
A rendering of one possible site plan for a
new Social Sciences Center on the Pasco campus of Columbia Basin
College. The Washington State Board of Community & Technical
Colleges will review the $15.5 million project as part of its capital
projects budget during meetings this week.
Approval of a $15.5 million building project and a Richland
land purchase for Columbia Basin College will be reviewed by state
community college officials this week.
The planned Social Sciences
Center for the Pasco campus is listed in the proposed capital projects
budget for the Washington State Board for Community & Technical
Colleges, according to documents.
CBC officials plan to break ground on the building in July 2015.
purchase of less than two acres at 940 Northgate Drive in Richland,
across the street from property already owned by the college, is on the
state board's consent agenda. Cost is estimated at $450,000.
state board will conduct a study session at the Pasco campus Wednesday
before voting on the two matters Thursday. Both proposals are crucial
for the college to meet the needs of students now and in the future, CBC
"At some point, we're going to have to get bigger," said Bill Saraceno, CBC senior vice president.
College officials have worked on bringing the Social Sciences Center to fruition for years.
building is one of several projects on the state board's list of
building priorities. Between $300 million and $400 million is expected
to be available to pay for all those projects. However, the state has
already provided $1.2 million to design the project and it is one of the
"They're No. 8 on a list of 23," said Laura McDowell, spokeswoman for the state board. "That's a pretty good place to be."
would be more than 40,000 square feet on the north end of the Pasco
campus and provide classrooms and offices for social science and world
language departments. Faculty will meet with architects to finalize
details for the project when the state board is in town.
departments that will move to the new building have most of their
offices in the L Building, which also houses CBC's library, said Deborah
Meadows, dean of social sciences, world languages, business &
information technology. They use classrooms throughout the campus. A
central building for the departments would give professors the space
they need and force them to spend less time getting to classes.
have the resources to hold our collections," said anthropology
professor Mark Taff. "Right now they're crammed into cupboards."
Richland land purchase includes two pre-existing buildings and has no
immediate purpose, CBC officials said. It is being sold as surplus
property by the federal government.
However, it is adjacent to the
college's Health Sciences building in central Richland, which is home
to more than 20 programs and 400 to 500 students. It is also next to
another college-owned property, the current home of Delta High School.
Delta will move in the summer of 2015 to a new building in west Pasco.
not certain that any expansion of the college's Richland campus would
only be in the medical sciences, CBC President Rich Cummins said, but
that is a possibility given CBC's ties to other medical partners such as
nearby Kadlec Regional Medical Center.
"If we could help develop
(central Richland), it would give us a chance to compete with Spokane as
a medical training center," Cummins said.
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