WSCC looking at several construction projects

SCOTTVILLE — The upcoming months on West Shore Community College campus will see a variety of construction and improvement projects taking place.

West Shore Community College president Scott Ward points to blue prints on three building projects that the college will be undertaking in the upcoming months. Improvements will be coming to the Regional Public Safety Training Center, the Ice Arena and the Tech Center buildings.

West Shore Community College president Scott Ward points to blue prints on three building projects that the college will be undertaking in the upcoming months. Improvements will be coming to the Regional Public Safety Training Center, the Ice Arena and the Tech Center buildings.

One of those will be improvements to the college’s water system that will result in the campus connecting to the City of Ludington Water system. WSCC president Scott Ward and board administrative chair James Jensen brought a series of bids to the board on Monday to consider for that work.

“Improvements to the college water system has been part of the facility master plan for years,” Ward reported. “College water users know the water on campus has unsavory oder, taste and discoloration that has been caused by a high concentration of organic material in our well water.”

Ward said two studies were done on the feasibility of connecting to the City of Ludington water system in 2000 and in 2016.

“Connection to the City of Ludington water system would provide the best quality and reliability,” said Ward.

Jensen agreed that during his tenure on the board it has been a priority of his to get the water system fixed.

“Seventeen years ago when I joined the board I quickly became known as the sewer man because I was advocating hooking up to City of Ludington sewer system which we eventually did and now we are going to deal with the other part of that with the water.”

Jensen said they have tried to address the problem in various ways.

“Now we have a proposal before us to hire an engineer to put this plan together for us,” said Jensen. “The committee agreed to accept the bid from Fleis and Vandenbrink for $267,400 for the design and construction management of the water project. There bid was lower because they did the study in 2016 for us and have some of the work already done.”

The motion was passed unanimously by the board.

Ward also took the board through a series of projects coming up including the new WSCC Regional Public Safety Training Center that is located on U.S. 31 in the former West Michigan Regional Blood and Cancer Center. He also touched on improvements to the Ice Arena and the Tech Center Building.

“All three of these will be coming to you in a special meeting in July to approve construction managers,” he said.

The college president told the board that the Public Safety Training Center will have some changes to better accommodate that program in that building. One of the things he cited the opening up areas for training purposes.

“They are even going to have an area set up like a bedroom, living room and kitchen that would give police the opportunity to go in a kick down experience or fire fighters to come in to practice searching in the dark for someone,” said Ward. “It also helps first responders practice moving a gurney through a living room area. So it will be a flexible area to move things around to train for different scenarios.”

He said they also have planned a “booking” area where law enforcement can train for that experience.

“We also have planned rooms for a medical simulation room and virtual shooting simulation room,” said Ward. “We are shrinking down the reception area to have a large classroom in the middle that will be computer lab to use for 9-1-1 training. We are are going create a forensics lab in one of the two existing classrooms.”

In the lower level of the training center they will take an open basement area and convert it to a shooting range,  men’s and women’s locker rooms and a storage space.

“We will need to also add an elevator as right now it is just a big open unused space,” said Ward. “The shooting range will need added HVAC for ventilation to get the smoke out from that area from the shooting range.”

Ward said the architect for that project was Tom Mathison who has done other projects for the college.

In the tech center they are looking at full remodel of that building that will start in August and take place over a two-year period.

“We will be doing the addition part this year and the rest of the remodel next summer,” said Ward.

They will be expanding a fabrication lab with welding booths, more office space and an additional storage area. The architectural firm of Hooker DeJong Architects is handling that project.

Trustee chair Bruce Smith reminded the board that state funding was acquired for this project and is a matching grant so not all of the cost is being incurred by the college.

The last project to be covered is improvements to the ice arena that is being designed by the architectural firm of Tower Pinkster.

“We will be adding a women’s locker room as we are seeing male dominated teams come in that may have one or two females and we don’t have a locker room for them,” said Ward. “So we are taking the referee’s locker room and giving them another one on the other side of the rink that is better for them because they don’t have to go off right where the fans are located and they are passionate about their sport.”

Ward also said they plan to add a large room area so when the arena is rented out it will give people a place to go to eat food and host a party. He said they get a lot of birthday’s held at the arena and also when teams would be here for a tournament they would set up places to eat in the hallway. This addition would alleviate that problem.

“This would give them a more private space and in our average winter we usually have two birthday parties a day on weekends,” said Ward. “This improves it for the public.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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