Construction at Bakersfield College is still underway


Haley Duval

Construction workers working on the new Science and Engineering building at Bakersfirld College, September 2020.

Nicholas Covello, Reporter

The Bakersfield College campus on 1801 Panorama Drive was initially built in 1956, almost 65 years ago, according to the BC website. Since then, the campus had not seen any major renovations until 2016, and those renovations are still taking place today.
The renovations are due to the passage of Measure J, a bond measure that provided $500 million in funding for the Kern Community College District. When Measure J originally passed, the renovations were planned to be completed for over 30 years. However, that timeline has since been cut down partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has allowed Bakersfield College to accelerate the timeline on several projects and has also allowed the school to improve its water and gas lines, as well as other infrastructure throughout the campus.
At Bakersfield College, the funding from Measure J, which was provided by the support of Kern County voters is used to transform the campus into a “sanctuary for our students to learn and grow with the most state-of-the-art resources available,” as said by Bill Potter, executive director of Facilities and Operations at Bakersfield College, and also organized by Earl Parsons, the program manager at the school.
“This project is a wholesale reimaging of our campus and of what a community college education should look like in the Central Valley in the 21st Century,” Potter said, and once again organized by Parsons.
The construction on the Panorama campus is currently in a very crucial phase. The Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center (VRC) was opened in December 2019 and was the first building to be completed as a part of the Measure J Project.
The new Campus Center, which is expected to be completed in December of 2020, is currently wrapping up construction. The new Campus Center will be a three-story hub for student activities. It will have improved spaces for meetings and conferences, and a new food court, cafeteria, and a new courtyard that encourages interaction between students and the faculty.
Construction on the new Science and Engineering Building, which is expected to be completed in August 2021, has been making some significant progress as well. This new building will offer STEM students state-of-the-art class laboratories and faculty workspaces based on a flexible module system where any classroom can be adapted for either instruction or lab sessions.
Bakersfield College’s Board of Trustees has also approved the design phase for a new Agriculture building. Other projects planned as a part of Measure J are renovations to Memorial Stadium, a new Welcome Center and Center for Student Success, as well as parking improvements, and new signs around the campus.
The school also has plans to expand education in rural Kern County with a new Learning Resource Center on the Delano campus and a new General Education Center on the Arvin campus.
“For as long as I have been at Bakersfield College, they have been doing construction on the main campus, and I am excited to see the progress on it when we can go back to school,” BC student Jacob Pittman said.