James Membreno/ Courier Stock photo: The U Building as been under construction for a couple of years with no progress being made on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at Pasadena City College.
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After eight years of waiting, PCC’s U Building, or the Sarafian Building, has finally started its initial stage of getting reconstructed.

The project was approved two weeks ago by the Department of the State Architect (DSA), which is responsible for overlooking projects regarding educational buildings in California. To receive this approval was a long process because the project was not taken up to the City of Pasadena, but with the DSA office in Sacramento.

“The U Building was built in 1971 and was closed in 2012 due to seismic problems,” said Michael Bush, assistant superintendent. “The redesign began in February of 2017.”

In addition to the approval from the DSA, PCC’s Board of Trustees also approved the college to look for construction management firms to bid for the project. This process may take a long time considering that the construction management firms will have to undergo the process of reviewing the project plan, holding formal site evaluations and submitting proposals. The college will then select a firm from the results of that process and the chosen firm will then be responsible for the demolition of the building and all the way through construction and occupancy.

“There may be some changes in deadlines because of issues related to the college moving to remote operations,” said Alex Boekelheide, special assistant to the superintendent/president. “We plan to begin demolition of the building this summer and will hopefully see occupancy within three years or so.”

On Mar. 23, PCC’s Academic Senate has already approved a Facilities Master Plan (FMP) that has been stuck in the planning process since 2014. As of now, the FMP is just waiting for a final approval from the State Chancellor’s Office, after being approved by the DSA and PCC’s Board of Trustees. The wait for approvals itself has been slowing the process of the renovation for the U Building.

“We hoped to begin demolition in late May, but now it appears to be late June,” said Bush. “The demolition will take 90-120 days, during which time, we will bid the construction phase, [which] will take between 18-24 months to complete.”

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