As construction stalls across the country, one local, public entity is in the early stages of completing a laundry list of deferred maintenance projects.

With the Jerome Campus Redevelopment project underway and the state and federal stimulus packages approved, the people at Clatsop Community College are seeing long awaited improvements to their campus.

The "Go Oregon!" state stimulus package — signed into law Jan. 23 as Oregon Senate Bill 338 - authorized the sale of bonds to fund important capital projects at public facilities throughout Oregon. The bill made $175 million available to pay for construction, renovation and deferred maintenance of buildings and other facilities owned by state government, local communities, universities and community colleges. The goal is to create jobs, improve public buildings and pump money into the economy.

All 17 community colleges in Oregon will receive money for improvements. Clatsop Community College is slated to receive about $1.9 million from the bill for nine projects.

Major improvements to the campus include new roofs at the Visual Arts Building, the Library, MERTS I, Alder Hall and Patriot Hall. Also, the Performing Art Center roof will receive exterior sealing and painting; it was damaged in last December's storm.

"The bulk of the work is roofing," said Howard Clarke, a local construction management consultant hired to manage the projects associated with the state stimulus package. "Other than just installing new roofs, we will also try to improve the drainage systems on them in order to park the rainwater in a more advantageous location."

Other major improvements include a complete overhaul of the Forerunner Teaching Vessel - the only floating classroom among Oregon's community colleges - and the dock to which it is tied. New energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems are to be installed in the Library and Visual Arts Building.

Clark notes that none of the campus has ever been retrofitted or redone in terms of energy-efficient lighting. Doing so will greatly improve the energy-efficiency of the buildings.

A new metering system will be installed to identify and correct areas of excessive energy. The college currently has a single metering system for both natural gas and electricity.

"The current system doesn't allow us to know how much energy each building is using," said Clark. "This is a high priority job and considering some of the initial spec work has already been done by the Jerome Campus Redevelopment crew, it should get done through this funding."

The projects associated with Jerome Campus Redevelopment are ranked on priority level. The state stimulus package should be able to fill in some minor gaps when those projects get to the later stages and funding becomes an issue.

Now that the projects have been set and the bonds are for sale, work will proceed.

The Senate Bill stated that the projects must begin by April. The state has relaxed its public funding guidelines in order to accommodate these deadlines. The project doesn't have to be advertised for as long and doesn't have to go through the bidding process. Instead, the project manager has to receive three quotes from competing outfits.

"We will be advertising most, if not all, of this work locally. There should be a great deal of opportunity for local work, because that is the point of the stimulus package," he said.

The projects are still in the planning stages but will pick up rapidly in March.

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