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February 18, 2014 > Ohlone College begins renovation construction

Ohlone College begins renovation construction

Submitted By Gosia Asher

The first of several important construction projects that will dramatically renovate Ohlone CollegeÕs hillside campus in Fremont commences with the groundbreaking for the South Parking Structure which took place on February 12. Funded by the Measure G Bond, the innovative parking structure will be integrated into Ohlone CollegeÕs unique sloped landscape, allowing for greater accessibility and providing convenient traversal of the campus. Adhering to OhloneÕs commitment to environment sustainability, the beautiful design will also be coupled with state-of-the-art green construction.

Currently, the bulk of the CollegeÕs parking lies at the foot of the Ohlone hillside, a five to ten minute walk uphill to the core academic buildings, with over a hundred foot gain in elevation. While an argument can be made for the fitness of Ohlone students, most will celebrate the respite from climbing stairs that the new structure brings, as parking will be brought to the same elevation as OhloneÕs central academic buildings.

Additional construction and renovations to the academic buildings, slated to run through 2018, will advance this concept, seamlessly connecting the parking structure to the different levels of campus with the areas where most students spend their time. The overarching design speaks to a better flow of pedestrian traffic on the Ohlone campus, which students can easily navigate allowing for easier interaction with the academic environment and easier interaction with each other.

In addition, the structureÕs generous 900-plus parking capacity should help alleviate the hunt for parking spaces during peak hours.

Adding to the structureÕs uniqueness is its sustainable construction practices, which are aligned with OhloneÕs other green buildings and solar field in the CollegeÕs promise of environmental stewardship. DonÕt be fooled by the South Parking StructureÕs classy wooden accents Ð this is actually Resysta, a fiber reinforced hybrid material made of 60 percent rice husks, 22 percent common salt and 18 percent mineral oil, making it both environmentally friendly and extremely weather resistant. Furthermore, any unused construction materials will be repurposed for future Ohlone construction projects.

The design of the South Parking Structure also considers the environment aesthetically; from initial planning, the design process used the context of OhloneÕs hillside, resulting in a structure that rises naturally with the sloped landscape, rather than towering above the hills. The elegant profile contrasts sharply with the typical utilitarian edifices that parking structures bring to mind.

These innovations, as well as the beauty of the design concepts of Steinberg Architects, resulted in the South Parking Structure receiving the 2013 Community College Facility CoalitionÕs Professional Design Award.

The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2015. Overaa Construction, the prime contractor, was selected to oversee the project which officially began in January 2014. Overaa is a family-owned and operated general contractor headquartered in the Bay Area.

Construction of the South Parking Structure was made possible by Ohlone College Measure G Bond funds. In November 2010, taxpayers showed overwhelming support for the College in passing this bond, which will refurbish, renovate, and rehabilitate the aging Ohlone College Fremont Campus. For more information, visit www.ohlonebond.org.

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