A plan unveiled by Coast Mountain College for its main building at its Terrace campus envisions a new main entrance. (Coast Mountain College illustration)

A plan unveiled by Coast Mountain College for its main building at its Terrace campus envisions a new main entrance. (Coast Mountain College illustration)

Renovated main building next on Coast Mountain College’s capital list

Province has committed $9 million to the project

Thanks to $9 million from the provincial government, Coast Mountain College is embarking upon another major project at its Terrace campus.

The project involves extensive renovations of classrooms, offices, public spaces and washrooms on the first and second floors of its main Spruce building, which was constructed in 1965 and has gone without substantial renovations since. A concept plan commissioned by the college for the building also envisions a new main entrance way at the eastern end of the building.

The work will complement work now underway to redo the library space in the building’s basement after a flood several years ago caused water and other damage. Basement offices are also being redone.

Taken together with an extensive renovation of the college’s trades building and new student dorms, construction of which is now underway, the Spruce building work will make close to $50 million in capital and other improvements over the past four years.

“As a college, we have been extremely fortunate to have received significant support from the province over the past few years. We really believe our students will have the best housing units, library and learning spaces in B.C.,” said college president Justin Kohlman of the overall improvements.

Of the $9 million, $6.5 million is for construction with the remainder for designing the building, furniture, technology, project management, legal fees, surveying, geotech and project contingencies, he said.

The college’s first step toward a construction start is finding a company to nail down exact design and construction costs which will then lead to putting out bids for a contractor.

The concept plan commissioned by the college did a preliminary estimate, placing interior renovation and new main entrance way costs at a low end $11.675 million, rising to a high end $15.525 million.

The plan recommended separating the project into two phases, one being the renovation work and the other being the entrance way so that each could be done independently as money allowed.

Kohlman said the college adjusted the concept plan to reflect the actual monies allocated.

“This approach may be necessary to ensure business continuity for the college,” he said of dividing the planned work into two phases.

“We will know more about the phasing of this project once we have a prime consultant and construction manager on board.”

Thinkspace Architecture Planning Interior Design, the company that prepared the concept plan, suggested that while a normal design, permitting and construction schedule could take two years, a fast tracking could reduce that to under a year and a half for both the interior renovations and the entryway.

That fast tracking would mesh with the current pandemic which has all but eliminated a student presence in the main building for the foreseeable future.

“This offers a unique opportunity to perform the necessary work without disrupting the campus activity,” the plan’s writers stated.

A new entryway on the east side of the building would make access to the structure more easier to find and provide a much better way into the building for students with accessibility challenges.

Renovations would include measures to bring the building up to modern code standards such as seismic upgrades, a sprinkler system and a revamped fire alarm system.