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Golden shovels end OC’s 40-year wait for new buildings

A large group of college, city, county and state dignitaries dug in Saturday Feb. 11, to mark the official start to the new Science-Technology building at Olympic College Bremerton.  - Photo by Tracey Cooper
A large group of college, city, county and state dignitaries dug in Saturday Feb. 11, to mark the official start to the new Science-Technology building at Olympic College Bremerton.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

In what was called a historic day for Olympic College, ground officially broke Saturday on the Bremerton campus for the first new instructional building in 40 years.

While a great deal of groundwork has already started on the new 55,000-square-feet Science-Technology building to be located near the Haselwood Library, dignitaries with golden shovels and hard hats threw dirt to celebrate the occasion.

This is the first of two new buildings that are part of a $75 million facelift of the campus. An arts and humanities building is expected to be completed in 2009 and the Bremer Student Center is getting a new facade and bookstore.

The Science-Technology building is also the first structure that was driven by program needs and not an emergency replacement.

“It’s absolutely thrilling to see a new building erected at the college,” said David Mitchell, Olympic College president.

He was one of several people to offer his thoughts on the occasion. New buildings, however, are not enough when it comes to providing a solid higher education. He touched on the disparities in faculty salaries and the need to address those.

“We’ve come along way,” said Mike Connolly, vice president for administrative services. He is expected to retire with this project capping off a 30-year career at OC. He recalled the emergency replacement of the technology building’s east wing. It was condemned two months after Connolly started working at the college.

“Olympic College has waited a long time to have its needs recognized by the community college system,” Connolly said.

Chemistry professor Ted Baldwin said the new construction “affirms that what we are doing is important.”

Tom Henderson, capital budget director for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, read a statement from Gov. Christine Gregoire.

“This is a day for the collective community to be proud,” Gregoire stated.

“I wish Olympic College success in all its future endeavors.”

Jim Robinson, chairman for the Olympic College board of trustees, said the school is a essential and enriching part of the community.

“Olympic College constantly, everyday serves to return better people to the community,” he said.

“We measure our success in the achievements of our students and the well-being of our community,” he said.

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