Lounge: Building code not up to date

Elizabeth Castillo, Reporter

The student lounge area located next to the Veterans Lounge and cafeteria must remain abandoned due to outdated building codes. The Student Government Association attempted to give the area to the Veterans Lounge so it could expand. Through this decision, students were made aware of the building’s structural issues.

“We were leaning toward giving the veterans a larger lounge,” said Alex Dominguez, SGA President. “So we had a meeting with Craig Rouse [director of maintenance and operations] and learned that the lounge area not in use has to be completely redone. We’re looking at the budget to see if there is anything that can be done right now.”

Although most SGA members hope to see an expansion of the Veterans Lounge in the near future, this expansion may not be realized until the entire Campus Center is remodeled.

“The Campus Center should be remodeled within the next two to five years,” Rouse said. “When we remodel Campus Center, then we will think about how to best use that space.”

The abandoned area’s main issues are due to building codes specific to schools. All California buildings need to adhere to Title 24, the California Building Standards Code. Buildings that are owned and operated under community colleges face stricter codes than other non-resident buildings. The abandoned area has been evaluated as lacking certain provisional codes.

The Division of the State Architect (DSA) is the government department that amends Title 24 specifically for public school buildings. After an assessment of the Campus Center, the abandoned area was assessed as lacking certain DSA requirements.

During the assessment, only specific areas of the Campus Center were evaluated by the DSA.

“The Veterans Lounge wasn’t assessed, but it has been brought to my attention,” Rouse said.

Because portions of the Campus Center do not follow DSA regulations, the Veterans Lounge continues to have limited resources available to Bakersfield College’s veteran population.

“I acknowledge we need a larger space because of the growing population of veterans,” said Tina Mendoza, academic adviser for veteran students. “Veteran issues are more focused and the lounge needs to be expanded.”

Due to budgetary and future construction concerns, the veterans will remain in their current space with little progress made toward expansion.