Construction at ARC temporarily displaces student services, vets, others


The addition and remodeling of Student Services will provide greater space for financial aid and assessment services offices and labs. (Rendering courtesy of HMC Architects)

Brooke Purves and Brooke Purves

Students can expect some big changes in counseling, assessment and other student services this spring with the start of a 14-month remodeling and “bump out” project on the west side of the Student Services building.

The project, with the creation of an additional 5,500 of assignable square feet, is set to commence in mid-April and will make room for the financial aid lab (currently housed in the portables) and desks for a total of four financial aid officers, according to Laduan Smedley, vice president of Administrative Services at American River College.

Several student services are being temporarily relocated, a process which will happen in phases over the next year and a half.

All veteran services will be moved to the portables at one time or another and may be combined, according to Daniel Avegalio, a records clerk with Veteran Services.

Veteran Services administrators are waiting to receive word on the particulars of which part of the program will move, to where and when, so students who utilize those services are advised to “hold tight,” until more information comes through.

Right now, the services for veteran students are separated into three different areas, the office in DSPS, the certification officials in Veteran Series and the Veteran Information Services, according to Ryan Feil, a vocational rehabilitation counselor at ARC.

Those services may be combined into one location, to better serve veteran students.

The new portion of the Student Services building will also house a newly expanded assessment center, which was recently temporarily relocated to the portables to allow for a quiet testing environment while the construction is process.

Students can expect to see an expansion of counseling services as well.

All of these changes are being made in part, in an effort by ARC to comply with the Board of Governors Student Success Initiative, part of which requires, a Student Action Plan and assessment of all newly matriculated students starting fall semester 2014.

Smedley said all of this effort would create a better flow of services “to provide greater service for our students.”

Although the west side of the building (which faces the Administration building) will be used as a staging area for construction material and therefore inaccessible, the east side of the building which faces the library plaza will be open during the project.

ARC administrators are trying to minimize any negative impact of the project on the students.

“There’s no good time to have construction on campus,” said Smedley. “At the end of the 14-month period, we’ll have a better space. (This will) greatly enhance our ability to meet the needs of our students.”

Plans show the new footprint of the building will include the grassy area and the few trees on the southwest corner of the building.

The $3.7 million bond funded project, designed by HMC Architects in Sacramento, is only part of the dramatic construction changes at ARC currently underway.

The culinary arts addition, a 16-month, $10.5 million bond project which adds 13,600 of assignable square feet, is scheduled for completion in December, and will create space for more classrooms and demo labs, and will allow for an expansion of the ARC Oak Cafe.

Because of the urgency of the addition to the Student Services building, rebuilding the Rose Marks Pavilion has been put on the back burner.

“Rose Marks is not a top priority,” said Smedley. “(We) must prioritize how we use our resources and time.”

Photo courtesy of HMC Architects
This architect rendering of the construction project shows room for large financial aid and assessment labs, the addition of several offices and a large lobby. (Click to enlarge)