Ohlone Colleges Adopt PLA for Construction Projects
The Ohlone College Board of Trustees approved a Project Stabilization Agreement in February for construction work funded by the bond measure passed by voters in 2010. Projects covered include renovating classrooms and science laboratories, construction of a parking structure and athletic fields, upgrading and retrofitting buildings for earthquake and fire safety, and doing utility infrastructure improvements at the Fremont and Newark campuses.
Voters in the Ohlone Community College District passed the $349 million bond Measure G in November 2010. The Trustees said that Measure G was needed because state funding for community colleges was very low compared to the funding California State University and University of California campuses receive, and that the funding can drop from one year to the next. A statement in support of the bond measure noted that, “In order to continue to meet student needs, modernize decades-old classrooms and buildings, and develop new programs and facilities, Ohlone needs a stable source of local funding. Measure G provides that funding, and allows the College to leverage those funds when alternative, state and federal funds are available.”
At the Board of Trustees meeting February 13, board member Theresa Cox said, “I think it’s an exciting time and a turning point for Ohlone College. One of the important things is that we’re providing jobs, and we’re keeping the bond money here at Ohlone.”
Rick Mangan, Business Agent for Sprinkler Fitters Local 483 and long-time Fremont resident, spoke in support of the PLA at the board meeting and said he appreciated Ohlone’s commitment to hiring local labor. He noted that work done in the past employed a crew of sprinklerfitters from Sacramento. They earned roughly $300,000 in payroll, and most of that was not spent in the local economy. “It’s better to have local contractors and local workers who will spend their earnings locally,” Mangan told The Journeyman. “The residents of the district are the ones who voted for the bond and will pay for it; the community should benefit with jobs.”
Mangan said that unions helped get the bond passed, helping to fund the campaign and get out the vote. “It shows that when you work in partnership, good things happen, the community benefits,” he said. “The PLA will level the playing field for all contractors—union and non-union—by having them commit to paying the prevailing wage. It’s good for the local contractors, the community, and for Ohlone College.”
Alameda County Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee director Byron Benton, an Ohlone graduate, said that the PLA would provide a pathway into god jobs for college students through union apprenticeship programs. “I think what you’re doing really strengthens our community,” he told the board.
The Agreement calls for the college to “utilize resources available in the local area, including those provided by minority and women-owned enterprises. To that end, the parties to this Agreement will exert their best efforts to hire local residents and utilize the products and services of Alameda County and Santa Clara County businesses.”
The need for a Project Stabilization Agreement was discussed with the members of the Board of Trustees at a workshop in April 2012. The board then directed staff to proceed with negotiating an agreement with the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council for certain construction projects included in Measure G. The Agreement ratified by the board in February is the result of negotiations that have taken place over the past nine months between the District and the Building Trades Council.
The PLA/PSA states that its purpose is to “promote efficient construction operations on the Project, to ensure an adequate supply of skilled craftspeople and to provide for peaceful, efficient and binding procedure for settling labor disputes.” The Agreement establishes the foundation “to promote the public interest, to provide a safe work place, to assure high quality construction, to ensure an uninterrupted construction project, and to secure optimum productivity, on schedule performance and District satisfaction.”
The Ohlone College newspaper reported that much of the construction will begin in 2014, with some campus demolition work starting in June 2015, according to the Gilbane Building Company, the contractor managing most of the Measure G projects. The Ohlone Community College District recently developed their 2012 District Facilities Master Plan (DFMP). The projects identified in the DFMP and included in the Measure G Bond Program will be implemented in a phased manner over the next several years, and should be completed by 2018, according to the college. A bond project oversight committee has been established to monitor the progress of the projects and compliance with the goals of the PSA.
Work on the Measure G projects will provide jobs for many trades, including making repairs to the aging plumbing system; installing and repairing fire safety equipment (alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, emergency lighting, fire safety doors); repairing and renovating classrooms and facilities lacking adequate plumbing, heating, air conditioning, ventilation and electrical systems; upgrading utility infrastructure; and improving disabled access.
– Paul Burton