Funds Push STEM Forward

Across the street from Gaiser Hall stands the new three-story, 70,000-square-foot science, technology, engineering and math building.

All necessary funds have been raised thanks to investors, the state of Washington and the Clark College Foundation.

With initial construction being delayed only one month, Project Manager Jim Watkins said the facility is on schedule to be operational by Summer quarter 2016.
Since the STEM building first broke ground in August 2014, the once yellow-taped concrete slab has bloomed into brick walls and 13 foot ceilings. The basement will house boilers, domestic water lines, hot water heaters and fire lines. An acid neutralizing system will also be installed in the mechanical room which will allow hazardous waste to be safely disposed of through the storm drain.
One improvement over the current science facilities is safety. “The building is designed to minimize any kind of danger from hazardous materials being transported,” Watkins said. “Classrooms will be back-to-back and corridors are on the outside so hazardous materials can be transported inside, not through public areas.”
After being put on a one year hold due to state budget challenges during the recession, the total funding for the STEM building amounts to $36.4 million, according to Vice President of Administrative Services Bob Williamson. This figure has been state approved but does not include additional one-time emergency funding for hazardous material remediation.
“Clark College Foundation conducted a five year campaign which was launched during the worst recession since the Great Depression,” Communications Director Rhonda Morin said. 
However, the campaign exceeded its goal in June 2014 by raising a total of nearly $27 million.

The foundation raised nearly $2 million for the STEM building, surpassing its goal of $1.1 million, Morin said. These extra funds will be used to furnish the interior design of the STEM building.
The CCF has procured an investment portfolio that allows donors the opportunity to be part of bringing this vision to life by purchasing and naming a section of the facility. Some of the named donors and their investments include:
John A. and Helen M. Cartales Foundation (drop tower); Bill Wheeler (equipment); Andy and Cheree Nygard (student study lounge); Paul B. and Deborah D. Speer (2nd floor lobby); Steve and Jan Oliva (cadaver lab); Douglas and Kristine Palin (student study lounge); and Meyer Memorial Trust (equipment, furnishing and educational materials).
“There are many named and anonymous donors who provide support for facilities, equipment and educational materials and programs,” Morin said. Among these generous individuals was an anonymous donor that purchased the third floor chemistry laboratory for $200,000. The lab was named in memory of Roland E. Dietmeier, a chemistry instructor at Clark.

“People give for a variety of reasons, maybe their children attended here, maybe their grandchildren attended, maybe they feel compelled to give to higher education because of what it does for the fixture of this community,” Morin said. By creating investment opportunities, the CCF allows Clark College to work together with its community.

For regular updates on STEM construction and hourly webcam footage visit:

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