A new Social Sciences Center for Columbia Basin College is a step closer to being built after getting unanimous approval Thursday from the state Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
The board also approved the college's purchase of less than two acres at 940 Northgate Drive in Richland, which is across the street from property already owned by the college. Cost is estimated at $450,000. CBC's board must still approve the purchase at its Monday meeting, where it is on the consent agenda.
The $15.5 million Social Sciences Building at the Pasco campus still needs to be funded by the state Legislature next year, but Bill Saraceno, CBC's senior vice president, expects that to come through because of all the design work already done.
"They wouldn't let us spend well over $1 million to not fund it," he said.
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The building would be more than 40,000 square feet on the north end of the Pasco campus, with classrooms and offices for the social sciences and world language departments. Officials in those departments say the professors in those departments now use classrooms around the campus, and the new building would allow them to spend less time getting to class.
CBC officials hopes to break ground on the project in July 2015.
The Richland land purchase includes two existing buildings. Officials say the land has no immediate purpose, but it is located adjacent to the college's health sciences building, which has more than 20 programs and 400 to 500 students.
It is also next to college-owned property that now houses Delta High School, which will be moving to a new campus in west Pasco next year.