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posted: 5/10/2014 8:01 AM

Cracks in concrete slab delay opening of new Oakton science building

Rest of science building done, Oakton official says

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  • Problems with a concrete slab on the west side of Oakton Community College's new $39 million Science and Health Career Center has delayed the opening of the building until January 2015.

       Problems with a concrete slab on the west side of Oakton Community College's new $39 million Science and Health Career Center has delayed the opening of the building until January 2015.
    Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer


The opening of Oakton Community College's $39 million Science and Health Career Center is being delayed until next year because a portion of a concrete slab under the building is experiencing cracking, settlement and underground utility issues, officials said.

Oakton had originally planned to open the 93,000-square-foot building in time for the start of summer classes this year but later pushed back the start date to the fall because of weather-related delays.

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And now problems with an 8,000-square-foot section of the slab on grade at the west end of the building have moved the opening to January 2015, said Janet Spector Bishop, a college spokeswoman.

Construction of the science building -- the first major construction project since the Des Plaines campus opened in 1980 -- began in April 2012.

"Most of (the building) is done," Bishop said. "It's just this one area."

Repair work is expected to result in added project costs, though how much exactly is still unknown, said Bishop, adding that the project has a contingency budget.

Officials said in an announcement on the college's website that the college's contractors, Turner Construction and Legat Architects, will be designing and constructing "a permanent, long-term solution" that will bring the project to full completion in time for the spring semester. Construction crews began demolishing the slab late last month.

"It has a fix. It's a doable thing," Bishop said.

Once complete, the building will house Oakton's anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, earth science, medical laboratory technology, nursing, physics, and physical therapy assistant programs. It will feature state-of-the-art labs, flexible classrooms, enhanced technology and ample lab preparation and storage space, officials said.

Construction of the science building is the marquee project in Oakton's $68.5 million five-year Facilities Master Plan, adopted by the college trustees in December 2010.

Other projects include $3.5 million worth of classroom upgrades, a new $3.4 million enrollment center, $1.9 million student gathering center, and more than $20 million in other infrastructure and remodeling projects.

The work is being funded by $40 million in general obligation bonds, $20 million from college reserves, $3 million from student reserves, $2.5 million from private grants, $2 million from state funds and $1 million from federal funds.

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