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Taisei, LPA Start Work on El Camino College Project

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Construction has started on one of the biggest projects in a nearly $400-million construction program that will vastly improve facilities and infrastructure at one of the largest community colleges in the U.S.

Construction has started on one of the biggest projects in a nearly $400-million construction program that will vastly improve facilities and infrastructure at one of the largest community colleges in the U.S.
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Cypress-based Taisei Construction Corp. and Irvine-based LPA Inc. have begun the construction phase of the $20.6-million Math, Business and Allied Health Building at El Camino College near Torrance.

The El Camino Community College District serves a population of 524,706.

The 18-month construction schedule for the 115,000-sq-ft structure will create about 200 jobs, says Joe Jaramillo, Taisei’s project manager. When completed in December 2011, the four-story, cast-in-place concrete building will have 72 faculty offices, 58 classrooms and three division suites.

“We are looking forward to the completion of this building, which will be our third new or remodeled building along Crenshaw Boulevard, significantly improving the facade of one of our primary entrances to campus,” says El Camino College President Thomas Fallo.

The project is funded by Measure E, El Camino College’s first-ever bond measure. The $394-million Measure E––the largest bond ever for a single-campus community college in California––is designed to fund extensive upgrades to the campus, including new classrooms and labs, instructional equipment updates and critical health and safety improvements.

El Camino College, which has about 28,000 students, first opened for classes in 1947.

The new Math, Business and Allied Health Building will be erected with cast-in-place concrete instead of a steel-frame, which will save about 10% in construction costs, says Steve Flanagan, principal and lead designer for LPA.

“Instead of having 15-ft floors, we were able to cut down each floor’s height by 3 ft,” says Flanagan. “Our design saved about 7,200 sq ft of building structure and finishing materials associated with it. The reduction in the overall size of the building also means that there will be much less square footage to heat and cool.”

Flanagan, who has been with LPA since 1994, says the savings in construction materials not used for the building translates into reduced costs down the road as well.

“If you have more materials, that means more maintenance over the life of the project,” he adds. Flanagan says construction crews will have to take into account and understand every aspect of the building’s concrete superstructure.

“Since the concrete will be exposed, contractors will have to construct the concrete as a finished material,” he says. “The superstructure won’t be clad with other finishes, so contractors will have take their time, not re-use forms, monitor vibration and have crews finish the concrete appropriately.”

While the project is not pursuing a LEED rating, when finished it will be equivalent to a LEED silver rating. Sustainable features of the L-shaped structure include low-flow water fixtures, a “cool” roof that uses a white vinyl membrane that reflects light and heat, and more planting than concrete areas, which will put rainwater back into the ground. Occupancy sensors will turn off lights when the room is vacated and all faculty offices will take advantage of daylight and views. In addition, material with low volatile organic compounds were specified.

Flanagan says the building’s rubber, linoleum and concrete flooring will last longer and lower maintenance costs.

While this is LPA’s fourth project in the last few years at El Camino College, it’s the first for Taisei Construction, which recently completed the $80-million South Campus project for Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and the $66-million Performing and Fine Arts Center for East Los Angeles College, LEED gold and silver projects, respectively.

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