New student center, cafeteria, bookstore may not open until sometime in fall of 2018

Construction on a new Student Center at Taft College is lagging four months behind schedule and threatening the hoped-for completion next spring or summer.

That was the focus of an update provided to the Citizens Advisory Committee that oversees spending

of a 2014 voter-approved construction bond measure known as Measure A.

The $12 million, 21,00 square foot building on the eastern edge of the campus will house a student center, cafeteria, bookstore, staff mail room, and meeting rooms.

In response to a question from committee chair Roger Miller, Executive Vice President Brock McMurray said the project was four months behind schedule. “We have numerous concerns about the flow of the project,” McMurray said. “We’ve changed schedulers and superintendents a couple of times

but we still have some concerns. We have had to keep pushing them to put a more realistic time schedule. We still have a good relationship with our contractor.”

General contractor is California Averland Construction Inc. has offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. McMurray said there were a few delays early on caused by wet weather and “surprises” once earth was moved. And the Department of State Architecture was at times slow in its approval mechanism. Subcontractors – 29 or 30 of them – can also contribute to delays, McMurray said.

“There have been some logistical problems and we have had to make them redo things if it doesn’t meet our expectations.”

Steel beams have been fabricated, McMurray said, and should arrive soon.