Cypress College Makes Intriguing Upgrades in Orange County

By Eric Althoff

CYPRESS, Calif.—General contractor Sundt Construction Inc. has completed the renovation of the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) at Cypress College in Orange County. In addition to the renovation, Sundt also completely rebuilt a Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (SEM) building in Cypress.

The VRC expansion added 12,000 square feet to the existing building. The new construction includes spaces specifically dedicated to services for veteran students. Additionally, additions included an outdoor plaza, a veterans’ memorial bridge as well as a “tribute garden”. Inside the same building, the former Student Activity Center has been remodeled to make it more usable for modern teaching.

The $80 million SEM building was built because Cypress’ old science building was considered obsolete. As a result, the new SEM Center is a state-of-the-art facility comprising 23 laboratory classrooms, 21 lecture halls, offices and administrative space. For the college’s mortuary science program, the building features a domed “immersive digital classroom and crematorium”.

These two buildings represent initial projects funded by the North Orange County Community College district’s Measure J program, which voters passed in November 2014, in part to upgrade local science education facilities.

In a recent Sundt announcement regarding the completion of the Veterans Resource Center and SEM Building, Jim Householder, Sundt Project Manager for Sundt’s California District Building Group, said his company was pleased to hand over the completed work to the Cypress College.

“We are very proud to be working on such meaningful projects that will contribute to the prosperity of our community,” he said.

LPA, Inc. was the project architect.

Householder said in a later statement to School Construction News that one of the main challenges of the job was getting the construction done in the middle of an active college campus.

“Our team has done a great job of providing students with safe access, with their ‘swing door’ system [and] with wayfinding signage allowing for clear, quick and safe passage,” Householder said.

Sundt Construction, Inc., owned by its employees, has been in business for over 130 years and works in industries such as transportation and energy. In addition to its California offices in Orange County, San Diego and Sacramento, the company has offices in Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Utah. The general contractor was ranked the 58th largest construction company in the country by ENR.

Sundt has more than 200 higher education projects in California alone to his credit. His other work in the Golden State includes work at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management, and Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, both in Northern California.

Sundt will then work at Cypress College on a campaign to modernize the fine arts building on campus.

Alice F. Ponder