Grays Harbor College broke ground Tuesday afternoon on a $41.5 million, 70,000-square-foot building to be named after longtime instructor and former Vice President of Instruction Dr. Gene Schermer.
Schermer was a faculty member from 1962-1992, and later vice president of instruction. He is still connected with the institution through multiple acts of volunteerism. The Gene Schermer Instructional Building will replace the 400 and 450 buildings, which are around 50 years old.
College President Ed Brewster spoke of the excitement of finding a bid just under the $41.6 million provided in the late-coming legislative capital budget at the end of June, saying the college was “more than a little concerned,” when the final budget cut 11 percent from the project after it had already gone out for bids.
They had previously estimated the cost of the building at $46.532 million during the initial design process, and the college had drawn up bids with alternates.
But after receiving bids back on July 2, they did not have to make any changes to their original plans for the building, said GHC director of Public Relations Jane Goldberg. They decided on Berschauer Phillips Construction Co. of Olympia, and architecture company SRG Partnership Inc. of Seattle. Alan Gozart, an Aberdeen architect, will assist with the project.
The building, a 24-month project likely to begin as early as next week, will be four-stories high and will house classes in nursing, technology, engineering, mathematics, nursing, art, and new “state of the art” science labs and faculty offices. It should be open in time for classes in the fall of 2015.
“I will always love GHC”
Schermer spoke briefly at the ceremony.
“In the last 55 years, there have been a lot of changes, but the staff and faculty has always been student centered, concerned about great teachers and teaching and I’m glad a new building can assist with that,” said Schermer, adding he is overwhelmed to be selected as the building’s namesake. “I will always love GHC.”
The Schermer Building is the latest in a series new buildings and facelifts as part of the college’s modernization. The next project planned is the student services building, or HUB (Hillier Union Building), which was built in the mid-60s — but that is “many years off,” according to Goldberg.
From the Legislature’s $3.6 billion capital budget, GHC also recieved additional funds — $500,000 for minor works projects, $417,000 for facility repairs, $196,000 for preservation work, $170,000 for site repairs and $112,000 for roof repairs.