Construction on track for BBCC workforce education building

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Courtesy photo The new workforce education building at Big Bend is coming along on schedule despite a rash of bad weather.

MOSES LAKE — The new workforce education building on the Big Bend Community College campus could be open for fall 2019 classes, at least for some of the building’s occupants.

Linda Schoonmaker, vice-president of finance and administration, said construction is on schedule despite a blast of late-winter snow and cold. Substantial completion is expected by Sept. 10, Schoonmaker said.

Her office has a pretty good view of the construction site. “It’s very exciting. Every day you look at it, another wall goes up, or something.”

The new facility is located on Bolling Street, across from the existing ATEC building, and with its parking and storage facilities will take up the entire lot.

A lot – but not all – of the exterior framing is completed, with work beginning on the interior in some parts of the building. Some (but not all) of the exterior siding has been installed. Preliminary framing has been installed for some windows. Lydig Construction is the lead contractor.

The 70,000-square-foot facility will house the college’s technical education programs, with the exception of aviation maintenance. The aviation maintenance program will get a new building, but will remain next to the runway at the Grant County International Airport.

The auto mechanics department will be the first ones in the new building, since the existing auto mechanics space must be demolished to make room for the new aviation maintenance facility. The workforce education building eventually will house BBCC’s technical training courses, from welding and industrial systems to mechatronics and industrial electronics.

The college received about $35 million from the state’s community college capital projects fund for the project, which is paying for the first floor. College officials opted for a second floor, which will house BBCC’s computer classes and additional classrooms. That part of the project is being funded locally, and the BBCC Foundation has set a goal of $3.75 million for the project. To date the foundation has raised about $2.1 million, Schoonmaker said.

The state funding came with a requirement – the buildings housing the programs must be torn down as the tenants move out.

Part of the second floor will be finished by September; the rest of the project will be finished as money is available.

Cheryl Schweizer can be contacted via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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