KING CITY — New classroom construction at Hartnell College’s King City Education Center continues, as the two-story framework is ready for weather barriers and sealing the building from outside elements.
The satellite campus has been undergoing an expansion since the beginning of this year.
“If all goes well in our county and if the Covid-19 cases decline, we will have a soft opening in spring; however, we are still expecting to have online classes and services and there will be a brief soft opening,” said Mostafa Ghous, the dean of academic affairs for Hartnell’s South County education services. “Classes will continue to be online and there will be minimal staff to assist students that require in-person assistance. Again, this will depend on the cases in the county and direction from our superintendent.”
Building envelopes have been prepared for the exterior application, and roofing is currently being put on the building. Interior sheetrock was also slated to begin, as the window installation continues.
Most recently, control joints were installed in the expansion, with testing of the windows having recently completed and passed. Ghous said most windows and electrical components have been installed, with some plumbing completed.
“With the closing in of the building envelope, insulation can also start,” he said.
The walls of the prior building were broken through months ago to allow connection to the expansion’s walls, and they are now undergoing permanent attachment and integration.
Despite the new facility being able to host more classes and students, the campus cannot immediately open to those new pupils due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The college is concerned with the safety of the students, staff and community,” Ghous said. “We do not want to expose the general and college population to the virus. We are 100% online until further notice.”
In addition to the expanded King City campus, Ghous is overseeing the construction of the new Soledad campus for Hartnell.
“For now, we are preparing for a soft launch with limited services, such as book lending, library services, etc.,” Ghous said about how the King City Education Center and the incoming Soledad campus will function while the community college operates under distance learning mode.
Virtual attendants are available on weekdays for student services while they take classes online, during both the current semester and most likely the next one, as well.
“We encourage everyone to use the virtual attendant services as much as possible,” Ghous said.
In addition, pick-ups and drop-offs for book distributions and lending will take place in a “safe and coordinated manner,” Ghous added. He said students will be notified in advance of any such events.