The Renegade Rip

Downtown makeover begins

Eladio Bobadilla

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A renovation construction project recently began on the downtown Weill Institute of Bakersfield College.

Kern Community College District officials are currently making arrangements for the staff to move to other locations until construction is completed. Currently, they are still in the facility. Officials are in the process of finding a place to relocate.

District officials had said there was also a “dust problem” but insisted the renovation was not directly related to a report that revealed asbestos in that dust.

“There was some concern about a report that revealed asbestos,” said Kellie Van Weston, “but the construction taking place is to modernize the remainder of the building and to move (Information Technology) personnel to the second floor.”

Van Weston, administrative assistant to the chancellor, said there was no immediate threat from the levels of affected dust. The report, conducted by the district, is not the cause for the renovation, Van Weston said.

An abatement program will take place, however, to remove whatever is present when the building has been vacated.

The renovation was originally expected to last between 12 and 15 months.

“With us (staff) out of the building, though, it will probably take nine or 10 months,” said Van Weston.

The district plans to move everyone out eventually. Among those vacating will be the staff of Point Loma Nazarene University.

“We were planning to move by Jan. 1 anyway,” said Don Burnard, director of the Bakersfield campus of PLNU.

“We are moving for no other reason than to expand. We needed more classrooms, and we are leasing property on California and Mohawk,” Burnard said. “Dr. (Sandra) Serrano (district chancellor) and everyone here has been wonderful to us. We’ve really been blessed. They’ve taken care of us and given us a family atmosphere.”

According to Burnard, the project will “speed up the time limit a little bit. The center had planned to move in two stages, the first being in January, and the second in August. “We’ll be completely out by Jan 1,” he said.

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Downtown makeover begins