By Sami Parman
The noise of construction will soon come to an end in Loftin Student Center.
“We are still looking at mid-March for construction to end,” said student life Director Jorge Posadas.
The construction was slated to be completed at the beginning of spring. It is the small cosmetic things that have put operations behind, Posadas said.
“We still need to build a new stage downstairs, lighting and furniture,” Posadas said.
The builders were trying to put a storage unit in the center, but building codes required a complicated design.
“Building code requires more of an extensive design, so we had to eliminate the storage unit and expand the arcade,” Posadas said.
The design for the student center, created by Professor Isabel Garcia’s Architectural Design 3 class, worked with a $170,000 budget approved by the Student Activity Fee Committee last year.
“District contributed equally if not more toward the budget,” Posadas said. “They also provided a contingency account for the small things that have significantly contributed to the student center.”
Students may already notice a curved blue wall where the old student life office used to be. The wall surrounds the new arcade.
The location of the arcade is meant to dim the noise the arcade creates.
“A student center should always be loud and full of activity and a library should be quiet. However, I think that we try to provide as many different areas as possible,” Posadas said.
The minibookstore, which will be in the southeast corner of the first floor, will house mostly San Antonio College wear and other items for general everyday student life, such as Scantrons.
“It is so sad to see someone holding just a Scantron the first week of school and there is this huge line,” Posadas said.
The handmade faux-marble terrazzo starburst flooring on the first floor of the center beneath the round ceiling construction — referred to by student life as Loftin round — took the majority of the budget, about $60,000.
Terrazzo flooring is a finished concrete or epoxy-resin with exposed marble chips or other fine aggregates. It took about two months to put the circle in.
This continues to be the best floor for high- traffic areas like hospitals. Plus, this floor does not crack as easily as other popular flooring used for high traffic areas such as concrete, Posadas said.
The furniture for the new center is not estimated to arrive till the end of the semester or longer.
“Furniture takes a very long time and is very complex to order,” Posadas said.
The Student Activities Fee Committee has to pick three comparable designs to go to bid. If they do not get at least three bids on the designs they requested, then the committee has to go back and re-pick new designs that they are willing to bid on.
They recently had a pre-bid meeting Feb. 1, and the bid went out Feb. 14. It goes out to the public for companies to pick up and bid. This bidding will end the last week in February. District opens the bid and if they have one for $50,000 or less, they will accept it immediately and purchase. If not, it has to go through the board for approval, which will not be until their regular March meeting. If this happens, the ordering time for the furniture will be in April and estimated arrival will be six to eight weeks after.
The furniture, Posadas is hoping, will be from bar stools to low cushioned chairs available to the students.
“Renovating is not as easy as it seems,” Posadas said.
They were originally hoping to have an opening celebration with the new furniture, but there will be a soft opening when the construction is done. A real grand opening celebration of the new center will be in either the summer or fall.
But even as construction continues, students are seeing the use of the new additions.
Students are eating and putting their laptops up on the bar of the outside curved wall of the arcade already. In the future, barstools will be placed near that wall, and outlets will be installed for laptop use.
As reported last year in The Ranger, the second floor will house the new office of student life in Room 260; the craft room on the second floor next to the office of student life will remain with its tables and chairs, used mostly for a meeting room; a cafe setting dining area with stools facing the windows and bistro tables; a lounge for video gaming equipped with two big-screen TVs; a stage facing the dining area; and an open Bailey’s Cyber Cafe where the arcade previously was.
Posadas’s main concern is that the committee continues to fund this building every year.
“It just needs touch ups; nothing lasts forever. I would like students to be in a comfortable environment that has to be kept up, than concrete and hard seats that will last forever but no one will go to,” Posadas said.
The official school seal Posadas had hoped to use as artwork on the first floor is still up for approval.
“I hope at the end of construction, we will give our students a sense of place, a sense of belonging, and a sense of identity,” Posadas said.