COUNCIL BLUFFS — It may be summer, but there’s a lot going on at the Iowa Western Community College campus in preparation for the coming school year.
The road construction that started right after graduation in late spring should be finished by Aug. 15, four days before fall classes resume.
“They’re about halfway done right now,” said Dan Kinney, Iowa Western president. “They keep telling me they’re confident they’ll have it finished by Aug. 15, but I’m a little nervous about that. But we’ll see. Hopefully they’re correct.”
The road project is being tackled in two phases: this summer and next summer.
Phase one spanned from the Arts Center to the Student Center and has an estimated cost of $860,706. The second phase, which will run from the Student Center to College Road, is estimated to cost $840,312.
Kinney said the road is being redone because it’s more than 40 years old and “was obviously getting in really bad condition.” In addition to resurfacing, the college is adding curbs, gutters and storm sewer drains.
“One of the other things that we were really concerned about — with the location of student housing — is that more and more students were walking on the roadway at night as a sidewalk,” Kinney said. “So along with resurfacing road, we’re adding sidewalks on each side of it and adding pedestrian lighting as well to make it a lot safer for students.”
Kinney said the construction hasn’t caused too many headaches thus far.
“I think people (who visit campus) understand what’s going on, so I don’t think it’s really been that bad,” he said. “It’s been an inconvenience, obviously, but I think everyone has dealt with it pretty well.”
Bids on the second phase will be sought next spring, he said.
“Like the project this year, the day after graduation we’ll have it all ready to get started so they can finish the last portion of it next summer, before school begins,” Kinney said.
HGM Associates Inc., which provides architectural, engineering and surveying services, supplied its proposed costs for engineering, design and construction.
Additional construction projects at the campus include site preparation for the new engineering building, Kinney said, which will be put out for bids in August. The construction will get started in the fall, he said.
“The reason we’re doing site prep work now as a separate contract is so that hopefully the building can get started right away in the fall, so maybe they don’t have to shut the project down for the winter,” Kinney said. “It’ll be fall 2015 before we have it ready for use, however.”
He said construction crews had to move a water line and a sewer line.
“They’ve done that and now they’re taking dirt out and just getting the site ready for construction,” he said.
When finished, the building — which will be just north of the Student Center — will be the largest on campus.
Additionally, the college will start the renovation of space it acquired from the City of Harlan at its Harlan campus. That space will be used to expand the science offerings there, Kinney said.
“What we’re planning to do along with that space — hopefully in January — is house a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy with the high schools in that area,” he said.
Kinney said the college has several other projects slated for next summer on campuses in Shenandoah and Clarinda that “we just couldn’t get started on this year.” They include infrastructure repairs that should improve energy efficiency and minimize maintenance costs.
A year from now, the college will begin a project in Atlantic, which will include more space and high-speed Internet connections for interactive classrooms to help the design technology program to grow and provide graduates with the computer skills needed by manufacturers.