A rendering of the new Building E, which will house the College Center at Long Beach City College's Liberal Arts Campus. Courtesy of Long Beach City College.

Thanks to a variety of bond measures that voters have approved in recent years, Long Beach City College has a slew of major construction projects underway.

The Board of Trustees recently heard an update on some of these projects. Here’s a look at where things stand.

Building MM

Building MM is undergoing a renovation of the west wing, which will house the HVAC, Carpentry and Construction Engineering departments. The facility will also see a total teardown of the east and south wings and the construction of a new 19,383-square-foot program space for the Horticulture, Anthropology and Trades and Industrial Technology departments.

“​​The trades are a really important aspect of what we offer our students and community, as well as our employers in the region,” Long Beach City College President-Superintendent Mike Muñoz said. “For us, it’s really important that those facilities have the state of the art equipment and layout functionality.”

While the project was initially slated for completion this fall, several delays have pushed that date back. Officials hope the west wing renovation will be ready to host classes in this fall, while construction on the rest of the project is scheduled to begin in 2023.

Improving accessibility

LBCC is also aiming to improve its accessibility, in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The first phase of this project, which began in the spring of 2021, focuses on improving wheelchair accessibility on the pathways around the Liberal Arts Campus, which will include adding handrails in some places.

“They weren’t major changes, but you will certainly notice them if you are in a wheelchair,” LBCC spokesperson Stacey Toda said.

The second phase of the project, which will focus on the buildings, includes adding new restroom accessories and signage, doors with vision windows and new accessibility hardware like ramps and handrails.

The first phase improvements are expected to be completed later this summer, while the building improvements began in late May and are scheduled for completion next year or in 2024.

Music and theater complex

Work is in progress to replace Building G and Building H, which house the school’s music and performing arts facilities, with a 67,331-square-foot facility that will include a building with instructional classrooms, a black box for theater performances and specialized labs and practice rooms for the Music Department.

“I think it really rounds out what we are providing to the community,” Muñoz said. To be able to have the music and [performing] arts complex built out really ties everything together to create an enhanced student experience.”

Construction on this project is expected to begin later this year, with the completion scheduled for the fall of 2026.

College Center

The reimagining of the College Center looks to have room for some of the school’s recent projects, including a basic needs center and social justice center. It is also expected to house resources like student government, dining and conference rooms for students to use.

“We’re a little landlocked on space,” Muñoz said of the reasoning for a new center. “Over the last couple years, we have added different programmatic components that we didn’t have office space for, so we’re building a new building with some of these new programs in mind.”

A coffee shop will also be installed near the center, replacing a pavilion north of Building A that is close to the site of the new center. This shop is expected to serve customers while the construction of the new center is underway, which is expected to begin in the spring of 2024. Construction work for the coffee shop is scheduled to start next summer.

Building B

A potential renovation project for Building B has turned into a full demolition and reconstruction after seismic engineering studies showed the cost of improvements exceeded the school’s threshold for renovations—which is 75% of the potential replacement cost for the building.

Now, the project includes the demolition of the Building B for the construction of 43,106 square feet of programming space for the Anthropology, Fashion, and Nutrition departments, as well as serving as a general classroom venue for the school.

The project is in its preliminary stages, and the college is still seeking funding. Officials hope early design work can begin in the summer of 2024.

Student housing

LBCC is also exploring a potential student housing project on campus. The college is currently eyeing the area southwest of Parking Lot M, to the south of Veterans Memorial Stadium.

A student housing feasibility study has already been conducted to identify student housing demand, which resulted in a project design with 421 beds for students. The school submitted applications for a $6.7 million planning grant and a $83.7 million construction grant, but both were denied.

The school will submit a new grant request in October and is also exploring other options to fund the project’s estimated $93 million cost.

One of the potential sources is through Senate Bill 169, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in December, which establishes a grant program to fund the creation of affordable student housing. Muñoz also floated the idea of potential future bonds, but he said the college is still exploring its options.

“As far as bonds and other state funds, none of those strategies have been committed to,” Muñoz said. “It is just [considering] at a very high level what could be explored and looking at how to get student housing.”

North Long Beach center

A plan is currently in development for a potential North Long Beach Center for Higher Education on two lots on East 59th Street between Atlantic and Lime avenues. The facility is a city project that LBCC could use alongside other education partners. Programming offered would include non-credit courses, outreach and an enrollment center.

“I think that’s also a very exciting opportunity for Long Beach City College to increase its presence in a part of our community that has historically been underserved,” Muñoz said. “I think the intent is to create a footprint within North Long Beach.

The project is still in the conceptual stage, so there is no construction timetable at this time.

Christian May-Suzuki

Christian May-Suzuki is a reporter at the Long Beach Business Journal.