Bakersfield College is getting close to breaking ground on a $14.6 million renovation of its 30,290-square-foot Performing Arts Building.
The building is original to the campus, said Kern Community College District Chancellor Sandra Serrano.
"It's very old," she said.
The BC Performing Arts Building was constructed in 1956 and the theater has an outdated audio/visual system, poor acoustics and low, flat sight lines, said Rob Trost, project architect with IBI Group, which created the design for the new center.
"The project was originally supposed to be just a modernization, but there were additional discussions and it sort of evolved. The director of facilities wanted to make this a showcase for the city," Trost said. "It's going to be much nicer and much more comfortable inside."
Funded by state bond money and proceeds from community college capital bond Measure G, plans are to convert an auditorium and classroom building to a performing arts center with a new entry, lobby and reception area, upgraded air circulation, a remodeled 450-seat theater with stadium-style seating, a smaller 100-seat "black box" theater, music studios, and upgraded office and classroom space.
An outdoor ampitheater is to be retrofitted with a covered stage and shade structures, as well as updated technology.
Trost said care has been taken to make sure the center blends in with the rest of the campus, with brick, plaster and stucco.
"We wanted it to be warm and elegant," he said.
Construction is scheduled to start in April and should be completed in June 2014.
At a board meeting Thursday, KCCD trustees awarded some of the construction work to subcontractor S.C. Anderson Inc. over the formal protest of rival AMG & Associates Inc.
AMG had submitted a competing bid literally seconds after the deadline, and had cited minor technicalities with rival bidders in its effort to convince the board to send the project out to bid again.
The cost of doing so would be "dwarfed" by a "significant reduction" in bid prices, an AMG lawyer argued in a letter to the board.
Only Trustee Ruby Hill was swayed. The rest of the board voted to move forward.