Correspondent

LIVERMORE -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony and public tours were to mark the grand opening of three new facilities at the 128-acre Las Positas College campus in Livermore on Tuesday. The two-year college, which opened 40 years ago, serves about 8,500 students.

"The three projects were funded by Measure B, which was passed by voters in 2004," said Ted Kaye, CEO of Las Positas College Foundation. "Construction began about two years ago and includes a new Student Services and Administration Building, second Science Building and a revamped Campus Boulevard."

The new, two-story, 68,000-square-foot Student Services and Administration Building consolidates all student support services -- such as admission and records, financial aid, counseling and veterans' programs -- under one roof.

"In the past, student services were scattered all over campus," said Kaye. "Now students can find the services they need quickly, and there's better communication among staff."

Kaye says there is now adequate space for student services.

"Previously, a lot of these services were in mobile office facilities and spread out all over campus," he said, adding that it's particularly convenient for disabled students to have support services in one building.

Administrative functions such as the Office of the President and Academic, Student and Business Affairs are also housed in the new building. There's also a new full-service cafeteria located near the entrance.

"We desperately needed a really nice cafeteria," says Kaye. "Students are really gravitating to it, and it's always packed at lunch time."

Kaye says they're working hard to keep students on campus during the day, not only to enjoy the experience of college life but for ecological reasons, too.

"We want to reduce the number of car trips students are making to and from campus," he said. "The new Campus Boulevard is creating the glue that keeps people here."

The boulevard features scenic pedestrian walkways, outdoor seating and study areas, a central fountain, lawns and drought-tolerant landscaping.

"That kind of attraction keeps people here ... it's good on so many levels," he said.

A second two-story 21,000-square-foot Science Building has also been added to house some of the most popular subject majors at the college. It includes four new biology laboratories and a cadaver facility on the first floor and classrooms on the second floor.

"There's a high demand for sciences," said Kaye. "A lot of our students who plan to transfer to four-year colleges need basic biology and science skills." He says biology courses are also required for two-year students who plan to go into such fields as dental hygiene, nursing, medical assisting or physical therapy.

"One science building simply wasn't large enough," said Kaye. "The kind of labs necessary for hard science requires space -- biology is not like a lecture class that can accommodate many students. Biology classes necessitate each student having their own station."

Doug Horner, the facilities director for Measure B construction, says building the new student services center cost $27 million, the Science Building cost $11.3 million and Campus Boulevard cost $1.9 million.

"Campus Boulevard was a way to tie the upper and lower campuses together and to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)," says Horner, adding that the college is built on a hill. "There are no wheelchair ramps on campus. We created gently sloping hardscapes and student spaces that comply with ADA requirements."

Guy F. Lease, the college's interim president, hopes the new buildings and boulevard will enhance Las Positas' ability to best serve students.

"The new facilities were made possible by the community and are of value to all of our students, whether they are interested in transfer to a four-year institution, pursuing a vocation certificate or just learning to expand their horizons," said Lease.

FYI
Las Positas College is at 3000 Campus Hill Drive in Livermore. For more information, visit www.laspositascollege.edu or call 925-424-1000.