STEM building complete, but sits empty amid pandemic

New building may not open until fall 2021


The new building at the ARC campus (STEM building), has been finished since earlier in August, but some of the furniture and some final touches have yet to be made on the interior of the building, although the outside it’s complete. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Blevis, ARC campus operator supervisor)

Emily Mello, Photo Editor

After the campus shut down last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, American River College’s administrative staff guaranteed that the new Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) building would be ready this summer. The Los Rios Community College District’s decision to transition classes online, however, ultimately caused some delays in its completion. 

FLINT, the contracting company hired for the construction, completed the STEM building in early August.

Scott Crow, ARC’s public information officer, says there are no academic plans for the building in the spring

“We don’t have any academic plans for the building for spring 2021, and obviously, we are like everybody else going to take [it] on a case by case to see what it will look like for fall 2021,” Crow said. 

Crow says that the virtual reality classroom is one of the main projects for the STEM building. 

“We are still [figuring] all that out and we obviously want to make sure that we have the best equipment. There are still a lot of unknowns [with] the ARIEL lab, which is the American River Immersive Education and Innovations Lab,” Crow said.

In an email to the Current, Matthew Blevis, campus operator supervisor says there are some adjustments and final touches that need to be made but overall the building is ready.  

“Construction is complete on the STEM building,” Blevis said. “There are some final touches to furniture, electronics, and equipment continue to be made, albeit the building will be ready for when students return.” 

Blevis also says that the ARC administration hopes that the building will be ready to be open as soon as the students are allowed back on campus since the spring 2021 semester will be online.

“Although the spring 2021 semester is currently set to be online, ARC remains hopeful and will have the STEM building ready for the shift to on-ground classes as soon as the determination is made to return to campus,” Blevis said.