Student and Administrative Services building opens Dec. 15

GROSSMONT COLLEGE (Press Release)– The translucent roof and skylights of the reconstructed Student and Administrative Services building have transformed one of Grossmont College’s oldest buildings into a bright and welcoming facility with an
expanded one-stop center for student services, including admissions and records, assessment, financial aid and more.

Aesthetics and function have joined to create an energy-efficient, high-tech
complex housing more than 100 rooms and offices and, most beneficial to
students, improved access to additional services such as counseling,
transfer center, international students, veterans affairs, and financial
aid.

College employees will begin moving into the facility Thursday, and it will be available to begin serving students Monday.

Designed by Architects Mosher Drew, the remodeled building is part of a $36.2
million, two-building project that also updated and expanded an aging
student center due to open in mid-January. The two buildings, which were
built using sustainable materials and energy-conservation measures, are
the first LEED-certified projects in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community
College District.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a rating system for the
design, construction and operation of green buildings, homes and
neighborhoods.

The project, which broke ground in summer 2010, is funded primarily by
Proposition R, the $207 million facilities bond measure approved by
local voters in 2002 in response to major overcrowding and outdated
buildings at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges. Earmarked student
fees and other local funds also helped fund the construction of the
student center, renamed Griffin Center after the college mascot.

“What a tremendous way to bring this transformational period of Prop. R
construction to a hugely successful close,” said district Chancellor
Cindy L. Miles. “We are so grateful to the public for sharing our vision
as we work toward upgrading our two campuses into beautiful, high-tech
meccas of higher education to best serve East County. There are still
unmet facility needs, given the age of our campuses, but for now, we are
thrilled that we can expand and improve student services with this
fantastic building.”

In addition to revamping and increasing the original space by 16,000
square feet to a total of 37,000, builders transformed the 50-year-old
facility from a low-slung, chronically overcrowded building into a
modern, high-tech center that brings all essential services for students under one roof in a mall-like setting.

“For new students, this building is their introduction to Grossmont College
as they seek critical student services and wow, what a great first  impression it will make,” Grossmont College President Sunita “Sunny” Cooke said. “Not only is the center beautiful and welcoming, students will appreciate  the greater ease with which they can go through the process of admission, assessment, counseling and financial aid.”

In addition to student services, the complex also houses the administration and features support services offices including the  cashier, business office, instructional operations, deans’ offices, college and community relations and the district foundation.

Amain lobby, with the dramatic, luminous ceiling lending an airy feel,  bisects the building with all services readily visible.  A number of  flat panel and projection screens, as well as directional signs, will  help students navigate through admissions and other related services  located throughout the building.

Financial aid director Michael Copenhaver said the space in his division will increase more than 60 percent to an estimated 3,100 square feet,  allowing plenty of room for growth. Office hours will increase, as well, with every department in the revamped building opening and closing at  the same time.

“The increased space and the upgraded facilities for students with more  computer stations, open access to multiple departments and the lounge areas, will be more inviting and conducive to improving the service we  give to our students,” said Copenhaver, who, along with hundreds of other workers, has been relegated to the cramped quarters of a cluster of trailers dubbed the “modular village” during construction.

Dale Switzer, the district’s senior director of facilities planning, said that with the rebuilt facility serving as a key entryway to the campus, aesthetics were a critical factor.

He couldn’t be happier with the end result.

“Althoughthe existing shell of the building was maintained, the new facility has the appeal of a brand new facility;  not a remodel,” he said. “With the use of color, natural lighting and large open spaces, the center area  appears welcoming and gracious to all who enter the building. With the use of new furnishings that are specifically designed for the functions of the users, the space will be wonderful new home for all.”

An official dedication ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday,  April 14, for both the administration and student services complex and  Griffin Center. The ceremony will be held as part of Grossmont College’s community open house celebrating the college’s 50th anniversary.

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Preceding provided by the Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District public information office