|A few "goo" men|
I visited the Irvine Valley College Bookstore today, hoping to find someone there who could tell me why it has become "necessary" to move that facility out of the temporary building it has occupied all these many years and into B100, one of the campus's older permanent buildings. (B100 was originally the campus library. These days, it houses an art gallery and classrooms.)
I accosted a lady who seemed to be further up the chain of command. I asked her what she knew about the move. She told me that the bookstore was moving because the new building (rooms B101 and B102, presumably) was "better." I said, "Yes, but I was under the impression that this building [I gestured downward] is somehow deficient."
She directed me to John Edwards, the Director of Facilities—which makes sense. He'd be the one to talk to all right.
But it's Friday and I decided that that's all the detective work I want to invest in for now.
I took a few snaps.
|Note the removal of the skirt|
The bookstore has long resided in this mildly hideous temporary building (above), occupying, really, a part of the parking lot. Alternatively, one might view it as a particularly ugly annex, jutting outward from between A300 and A400 of the original A-Quad of the campus.
The bookstore is, of course, one of the more visible examples of the residual half-assery that often plagues campuses in their beginning decades. Other temporaries, such as the CEC buildings (see below) are somewhat less visible and thus detract less from a sense of permanence. (I.e., they do less to suggest shabbiness and crapitude.)
Inside, the bookstore screams temporary: it seems cheap, as though it were built upon a flimsy plywood box, like a stage for a Li'l Rascals production in a barn. The ceiling is too low, the lights too artificial and bright, and the walls look as though they would cave in upon colliding with my elbow.
Lurid lighting, Walmartian decor
A temporary building, such as the old bookstore, arrives on wheels and a rudimentary suspension. That stuff (see above and below), plus the Rube Goldbergian piers and two-by-fours, wiring conduit, plumbing, and whatnot, is normally veiled by a cheap plywood skirt.
When I arrived at the scene today, the entire skirt had been removed—seemingly recently. This seems to support the notion that the decision to move the bookstore into B100 was a response to something discovered recently under the building. For some reason (did someone get a sinking feeling?), they looked under a part of the building, got worried, and then looked all under it.
Then their hair was on fire.
Here's what I found under the building.
I think you've got to be an expert to make anything of the mess depicted in these photos. Should there be two-by-fours (or two-by-sixes) between the piers and the building? Dunno. Maybe that's standard.
In any case, by about Wednesday, one of the English chairs (I'm told) was led to believe (by Craig and Co.?) that an inspection of the area under the bookstore revealed an alarming situation, an emergency. The conclusion: the bookstore would have to move out, and fast.
If that's true, the lady in the bookstore was blowin' a little smoke. No biggie, I guess. But what's wrong with being honest? Why can't everybody tell it like it is?
(Nearly) adjacent to the bookstore are the CEC temporaries (above)—where the courses now occupying B101 and B102 will be moved on Monday. Even when new, such structures are cheap and inferior. Instructors who teach in them generally pine for permanent digs, yearn for first-class citizenry, and curse The Man for sticking them in a glorified outhouse, to be contemned and forgotten by all.
One problem with upper administration at IVC is that they are so secretive and so utterly uninterested in communication (and, arguably, are deceptive besides) that, even when they're telling the truth, nobody believes them. I'm not at all surprised that some in the Humanities and Languages suspect that the decision to bump instructors/classes from B101 and B102 was less-than-optimal.
Earlier in the week, one of our readers predicted that the art gallery in B100 would be sacrificed to deal with this supposed emergency. That decision, they suggested, would reflect a failure properly to weigh the importance of art! It now appears that that did not occur and the art gallery is safe. (Update: not sure about this.) But I'm not surprised that some of the Fine Arts folks were wary and suspicious.
Roquemore and Justice just don't get it. You've got to communicate with people, and you've got to be honest with them. But that's not how it is at IVC. And so suspicion and distrust surrounds every administrative decision. Even good ones.
Did you know that the contractor for the new Bio building went bankrupt? Yeah.
How come we're not told such things? If indeed that contractor went belly up (I've not verified that), that will have an impact on other construction planned at IVC. But this factoid is not mentioned in meetings between faculty and top administration about future construction. How come?
* * *
I just spoke with Rebel Girl over the phone, and she reminded me that, long ago, B100 housed the dinky IVC Library. Fifteen or so years ago, the new library was planned, and our former colleague Kate Clark was on a committee tasked with naming the new building.
Evidently, there was a contingent who wanted to name the library "The Library."
"No," said Kate. "You can't call the library 'The Library.'"
Why not?, the others asked.
Kate's brain began to hurt. "Just trust me," she said. "You can't call the library 'the Library.' It just won't do."
As near as I can tell, in the end, they didn't call it "The Library." They called it "Library" instead.
UPDATE: just after 5 p.m., IVC President Glenn Roquemore sent out the following email to the campus community. (A little late, Glenn, but OK):
During scheduled maintenance of the College Book Store floor, a potential mold growth was discovered below the building. John Edwards immediately engaged mold testing in partnership with Follett. The studies verified mold in the sub-floor but the air in the building was found to be cleaner that [sic] ambient outside air and deemed safe for staff and students. Since the Bookstore needs to be vacated during remediation, it was determined that it was more cost effective to permanently move the College Bookstore to the B-100 building as prioritized in the IVC Facility Master Plan. The bookstore move to B-100 required moving ESL classes to CEC 5 and 6. Professor Jeff Wilson and [Dean] Karima Feldhus worked closely with Craig Justice, John Edwards and Jeff Hurlbut to manage this urgent project effectively. The primary concern was to avoid the disruption of classes and to provide a superior teaching and learning space. Through the sustained attention to this matter by IVC Facilities and Maintenance, CEC 5 and 6 are nearly completed. Although the cause of the mold in the bookstore floor does not exist in the CEC buildings [?], we are testing anyway to alleviate any concern. No classes have been disrupted.
Repurposing the CEC building also requires temporarily moving an IUSD special education program to Lib 201. This move is nearly complete. The bookstore move is scheduled to occur next Friday.
I would like to personally thank John Edwards, Jeff Hurlbut, Karima Feldhus, Jeff Wilson, and Craig Justice for their excellence in planning and execution of this critically time sensitive project. In addition, a big “thank you”, goes to the ESL faculty and staff for their cooperative spirit in this emergency situation.