Construction underway for new building

An excavator breaks up concrete in Parking Lot 2 on Feb. 21. Photo by Rory Moore/The Et Cetera

An excavator breaks up concrete in Parking Lot 2 on Feb. 21. Photo by Rory Moore/The Et Cetera

HARRIET RAMOS, Editor in Chief

Construction on the Student Services and Academic Building began this week.

Eastfield’s construction manager Brandon Murrell said the city of Mesquite issued a civil permit to the college Tuesday and crews started breaking ground Wednesday morning.

The new facility will be located in front of C Building and will house many of the services now in C, such as Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs and the Health Center.

Murrell said they are still waiting for the building permit, but the civil permit is all they need to get started.

“A lot of it is really just breaking up the concrete, removing a lot of that so we can start doing the grading work,” Murrell said.

Murrell said the project is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2023.

The new building is part of the $1.1 billion bond package that Dallas County voters approved in May 2019.

According to the bond website, a total of $62.4 million was budgeted for the Student Services and Academic Building.

Eastfield nurse Nancy Abdo said she is excited about the possibility of having more space for the Health Center.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a little bit bigger … so we can provide more services and better service,” Abdo said.

Facilities manager Adam Qualkenbush said the construction crew was supposed to break ground in January but there was a delay in getting some of the building materials.

“Everything was backed up just because of COVID and the supply chain,” Qualkenbush said. “[Construction is] going to happen any day which is why the fences are starting to go up and they’re preparing for it.”

Temporary fencing is in place around Parking Lots 1, 2 and 3, and the parking lot closures are making access more difficult for some students.

Sara Leos, an early college high school student and business major who drives to campus, said she was late to class one of the first days the fences were up.

“It’s more difficult because I used to park in front of the G Building, but now I have to park by the S Building,” Leos said. “This morning I got here, there was no parking, — it was full.”

Jaziel Alejo, a criminal justice major, said even though the parking lots are more crowded now,  it hasn’t caused any problems for him yet.

“[Traffic is] a bit slower coming in from Motley,” Alejo said. “But other than that … it’s fine.”

Murrell said the new building will take up part of Parking Lot 2, but he doesn’t know of any plans to replace the lost parking space. Parking Lots 1 and 3 are only closed temporarily.

“There will still be parking [in Lot 2], but we will be losing some spaces,” Murrell said. “That’s really the only lot that will be reduced.”