Cypress College Celebrates Groundbreaking for New SEM Building

A groundbreaking ceremony on Friday (February 8, 2019) marked the beginning of construction on Cypress College’s new Science, Engineering and Math Building.

The ceremony marks the first project funded from the $574 million Measure J bond, which was approved by voters in 2014 on behalf of the North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD). Providing state-of-the-art facilities to support the sciences was a top priority for North Orange County voters.

Funds from Measure J will facilitate the construction of a 106,023 square foot facility for Cypress College that will incorporate the creation of a 100-seat immersive digital classroom, as well as the addition of new lab spaces and classrooms with design features that allow for future expansion. The brand-new SEM Building will be open for classes in 2021. When completed, the building will be the first new instructional space to open on the campus since 1976 and the first new building since 2007.

With current and future students — along with employees and community members — in attendance for the ceremony, Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D., shared a quote from Carl Sagan: “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

“It is our goal to ensure that everyone in Cypress and North Orange County will know about science and technology, and that our college will continue to be a point of pride in this community,” Dr. Schilling said. “We believe that the science of today leads to the technology of tomorrow. And with your support, the technology of tomorrow will be created by the students who pass through the halls of Cypress College and this state-of-the-art building.”

Two current STEM students, an alumnus of the program, and a faculty member also spoke during the ceremony, held on the site of the new building. North Orange County Community College District Chancellor, Dr. Cheryl Marshall, and SEM Dean Richard Fee also shared their comments about what the new building will mean to students and the community.

On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, the NOCCCD Board of Trustees awarded a construction bid to Sundt Companies, Inc. for the construction phase services of the project.

“Cypress College has served the North Orange County students and surrounding communities for over 52 years, and we are thrilled to start construction on this beautiful new addition to our college,” Dr. Schilling said following the Board decision. “We take pride in offering exemplary educational programs in science, engineering and math, and are proud to be contributing to the future careers of our students and the local businesses that employ our students.”

Cypress College’s SEM division contains 7 programs, including: Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Mathematics, Physical Science, and Physics. The division currently offers 289 course sections to 8,287 students.

The College invites families, staff, students and the community to celebrate the groundbreaking on February 8, starting at 9:30 a.m. Please park in Lot 1, located off the Valley View entrance to the campus. The ceremony will take place by the Pond in the center of campus.

Student Activities, International Students Relocate During Construction

The construction of the new SEM building, new Veterans Resource Center, and the renovation of the Student Activities Center is scheduled to begin in December of 2018. As a result, the Student Activities Center and International Students Program have relocated to the second floor of Gym 2. Student Activities is in room 210 and International Students Program is in room 204. Please check back for updates.

Quad to be Closed During Measure J Construction

The construction of the new SEM building, new Veterans Resource Center, and the renovation of the Student Activities Center is scheduled to begin June 1, 2018. As a result, the Quad will be closed from June 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. During this time, traffic will be rerouted. Please check back for updates.

Plans Available for Measure J-Funded Veterans Resource Center

Cypress College is committed to serving its student veterans. The Measure J bond approved by District voters in 2014 provides the College with the necessary resources to significantly upgrade technical job training facilities, aging classrooms, and veteran amenities. Plans and renderings for the new Veterans Resource Center, Veterans Memorial Plaza, and Tribute Garden are now available. For the full presentation, click here.

This is what the Pond and current Student Activities Center area of the Cypress College campus will look like when the VRC and Veterans Memorial Plaza and Tribute Garden are completed.

The Pond and current Student Activities Center area of the Cypress College campus will look like this when the VRC, Veterans Memorial Plaza, and Tribute Garden are completed.

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The new VRC will be built in front of the current Student Activity Center and connected to the existing building, which will be renovated. The new SAC will also house the International Student Program.

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This is a detailed floor plan of the new Veterans Resource Center and Student Activities Center.

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This is a rendering of the front of the VRC building. In planning sessions with constituent groups, veterans voiced their desire for glass paneling that would not impede their view of their surroundings.

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The new VRC lobby is expected to look something like this.

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This is a detailed drawing of the new VRC, Veterans Memorial Plaza, and Tribute Garden. The garden will feature the U.S. flag, flags of the five military branches, and POW flag.

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This is a photo rendering of the VRC, Veterans Memorial Plaza, and Tribute Garden from the northeastern corner of the Pond area.

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This is a photo rendering of an aerial shot of the College’s new Pond area.

Veterans Resource Center and Student Activities Center Timeline

Program Validation: December 2016-February 2017
Schematic Design: February-April 2017
Design Development: April-July 2017
Construction Documentation: July-October 2017
Groundbreaking: June 2018
Construction Completion: August 2019
Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment: August-September 2019
Opening: September 2019

Veterans Memorial Plaza Timeline

TBA

Please remember all future dates are tentative and highly subject to change.

Measure J Construction to Begin June 2018

***Timelines Updated Wednesday, April 19, 2017***

Planning and design of Cypress College’s Measure J construction projects are currently underway. Groundbreaking for both the new SEM building and new Veterans Resource Center with renovated Student Activities Center begins next April and June, respectively.

The new SEM building is expected to open April 2020; the new VRC and renovated SAC are anticipated to open at the end of 2019.

The pond area will be impacted by construction and laydown areas during the projects. Due to noise and obstructed passageways, events should be held elsewhere during construction.

The new SEM building will be built in a portion of Lot 7 near the current SEM building. The entire lot will be closed during construction.

SEM Building Timeline

Program Validation: June-October 2016
Schematic Design: November 2016-March 2017
Design Development: March-July 2017
Construction Documentation: June-October 2017
Groundbreaking: June 2018
Construction Completion: June 2020
Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment: June-September 2020
Opening: September 2020

Veterans Resource Center and Student Activities Center Timeline

Program Validation: December 2016-February 2017
Schematic Design: February-April 2017
Design Development: April-July 2017
Construction Documentation: July-October 2017
Groundbreaking: June 2018
Construction Completion: August 2019
Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment: August-September 2019
Opening: September 2019

Veterans Memorial Plaza Timeline

TBA

Please remember all future dates are tentative and highly subject to change.

Dr. Simpson Delivers Annual Report to Trustees

President Bob Simpson presented his final Annual Report to the NOCCCD Board of Trustees on Tuesday night, lauding Cypress College students and the employees who support their success. The annual report presentation encompasses the Cypress College Annual Report and the Cypress College Institutional Effectiveness Report.

In providing an overview of the two printed documents, Dr. Simpson covered eight primary topics:

  • Measure J Bond Projects
  • Participation in the Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program
  • Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • Equity
  • Academic Achievement
  • Completion and Transfer
  • Environmental Stewardship

“It is my honor this evening to present to you an overview of the 2015-2016 academic year at Cypress College. The College’s accomplishments will resonate and propagate decades into the future,” Dr. Simpson said in opening his presentation to the Trustees for the North Orange County Community College District and other leaders.

The Board’s decision to approve a new Science, Engineering, and Math Building served as the first significant highlight in Dr. Simpson’s report.

“This new building will support the education of our next generation of scientists, engineers, technology experts, and mathematicians,” he said. “In this new facility, students will learn concepts we can’t yet conceive.”

Construction of the new SEM building is scheduled to be completed in 2020. The project will run in tandem with construction of a new Veteran’s Resource Center and Memorial Plaza that includes a bridge spanning the pond.

The presentation continued with an update on development of the College’s baccalaureate degree in Funeral Services. One of 15 programs included in California Community Colleges pilot program, instruction in the Funeral Services B.S. degree program will begin in fall 2017. In the past year, curriculum has been developed and the accrediting agency approved the key components of the bachelor’s degree.

A highlight of the year was the Yom HaShoah event in May. Focusing on the College’s core value of Inclusiveness, the Yom HaShoah commemoration featured portraits of Holocaust survivors created by Photography Department Chair Clifford Lester. About 1,000 people attended the event, which featured survivor Dr. Jacob Eisenbach.

In the area of equity, Dr. Simpson highlighted the first-ever Equity Summit held in April and the shift in employee demographics to more-closely resemble the student body. He also noted that nearly half of the incoming freshman class were first-generation college students.

Speaking about academic achievement, Dr. Simpson said the number of associate degrees awarded has grown significantly in the past five years from 753 to 1,201.  The number of certificates awarded has also increased over that same period. In addition, 458 transfer degrees were awarded in 2015-16, up from 114 in 2012-13.

The College also exceeded its target for both degree and certificate completion. The most common degrees awarded by Cypress College are in Liberal Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Life and Physical Sciences, Math, and Business. Students earn the highest number of certificates in Automotive Technology, and in the Hotel, Restaurant, and Culinary Arts program.

Finally, speaking about environmental stewardship, Dr. Simpson noted a recent state award presented to the College as a leader in energy efficiency.  Water consumption at the College was reduced by 30% and electricity usage by 5.4 million kilowatt hours last academic year. More than 8,600 energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs were installed by College employees — generating an annual savings of approximately $80,000.

“These are good times at Cypress College and the unsolicited accolades we have received are the result of commitment, hard work, and a true investment in our students,” he said. “Fifty years ago, people of foresight and vision committed to the development of a new college serving the needs of North Orange County.  We and the students who have been served over the years are the recipients of that grand vision. Today, we are laying the groundwork for the next 50 years. It is a privilege to be a part of that legacy and to know that because we have dared to Dream Big Dreams, we are now positioned to Do Great Things.”

He closed with the observation that the two printed documents “validate the commitment of the College to our Core Value of Excellence.”

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