Garden City Community College has had a busy summer addressing maintenance and student needs with construction and renovation projects, some of which are completed and others that are close, according to GCCC President Dr. Herbert Swender.
“We’ve had a lot of deferred maintenance and capital improvements made over the summer,” he said. “It was a big summer for Garden City Community College.”
Projects include a new residential life parking lot, roof replacements, gymnasium renovations and cosmetic work to student housing.
“Those are things that wrapped into deferred maintenance that a lot of people don’t see, but I think any of our stakeholders can be very proud of the custodianship we have to make sure that the facilities are maintained,” Swender said.
Updates already completed include cosmetic work in preparation for students of the recently obtained Wagner Apartments, now called the Broncbuster Suites.
In March, GCCC purchased the remaining Wagner Apartments after the first set, located from 1803 to 1809 E. Laurel St., was bought last year. The apartments, located at 1703 to 1713 E. Laurel St., will house up to 80 students starting this school year.
According to GCCC Board of Trustee meeting documents, plumbing, electrical, blinds, closet repairs, drawers and garbage disposal repairs were completed in the student apartments.
“The units were actually in pretty good shape (when purchased),” Swender said. “The tenants did a very fine job when they left, and the Wagners made sure of that that, too.”
The Saffell Library roof replacement has been completed, and the roof of the Dennis Perry Athletic Complex has been partially replaced. In June, trustees approved combined bids of $219,200 from DV Douglass roofing out of Garden City for the roof replacements.
Construction of a new residential life parking lot on the south end of the campus on Spruce Street is still in the works. The concrete parking lot project was expected to be completed by the start of the semester, but weather and unexpected utility replacements caused a delay, Swender said.
“…We had a sewer, gas and water line that had to be replaced ... that set some things back,” he said, adding that more lighting will be added to the parking lot, as well. “It’s going to be a nice parking lot, and the biggest part is it's going to have better lighting. The illumination will be much brighter. Safety is always paramount for us.”
Swender said by the start of classes, which is Monday, the parking lot will be about halfway completed.
In the meantime, students can park in the DPAC, fine arts or library parking lots.
“We have hard surface parking to meet our needs, it’s just going to be a little inconvenient on the distance,” Swender said, adding that students are not to park on the streets near the college and that when half of the lot is completed next week, students will be able to park there.
In March, trustees approved a $1,072,804 bid from JAG Construction for the residential life parking lot work.
A number of improvements in the DPAC’s main gymnasium, including installation of a new gym floor, updated bleachers on the south side of the gym and retractable volleyball standards, are also in the works. Lankford Enterprises of Bucyrus is doing the work on the gym floor for $136,000, and Kansas Contract Design of Wichita is doing the bleacher replacement for $120,460.
Renovations and replacements began in May, and the gym floor already has been installed and just needs the graphics and painting work to be done, Swender said. Additional layers were added to make it a “floating” floor, which will be safer for student athletes.
The south side bleachers will be replaced with more comfortable seating that will be ADA compliant, although they will not have backs as the student section will remain on the south side of the gym. Those will be installed when the floor is completed.
GCCC Athletic Director John Green previously has said funds for the project will come from a donation provided by Tom Willis, CEO of Conestoga Energy Partners, LLC, as well as the college’s Endowment Fund and capital outlay budget.
Once finished, the gymnasium will be called Conestoga Arena, while the overall athletic building will remain the Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex. The court will be named after the late Ron Schwartz, a former trustee for the school who died of cancer in 2016.
Swender estimates the gym will be ready in time for the volleyball team’s second home game on Sept. 18, when they play Pratt.
Dee Wigner, executive vice president of the college, said Thursday that college officials look at what needs to be done every year in terms of improvements.
“We then decide this is how we want to spend our resources and keep an aging campus going and keep it modern, so for students it's aesthetically pleasing,” Wigner said.
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