Pasadena City College administration members along with elected officials and student leaders broke ground on the PCC campus Friday for the construction of the new Armen Sarafian Building, which will replace a previous facility deemed seismically unsafe in 2012.
Gloria Pitzer, president of the PCC Foundation, hosted the event.
When completely constructed, the new five-story, 104,000 square foot facility will house labs, classrooms, and offices, for the Health Sciences and Natural Sciences divisions.
“This event is at least 10 years in the making, and as we’ve watched the previous building be disassembled over the last year or two, we’ve been building toward this date,” Pitzer said. “It is the first of what we hope will be many new buildings and facilities on the campus, as we fulfill the college’s Facilities Master Plan.”
The State of California assumed 80% of demolition and construction costs, and the building is estimated to be completed in the fall of 2024.
Pitzer also thanked State Sen. Anthony Portantino for his work getting the project off the ground.
“Senator Portantino has been an instrumental part of getting us here today. His efforts in Sacramento helped dedicate state funding to this project while freeing up much-needed resources for community college facilities across the state,” Pitzer said.
“I was very excited to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Armen Sarafian building,” said Portantino following the event. “Community colleges play a critical role in higher education and workforce training. It’s an honor to represent PCC and be part of this special day.”
PCC Superintendent/President Dr. Erika Endrijonas spoke about the building’s namesake, Armen Sarafian, who served as PCC’s fifth president, from 1965-1976.
“He oversaw the creation of the Pasadena Area Community College District as we know it today, with seven trustees and all of our surrounding communities brought into one place,” said Endrijonas, who added, “He also saw an expansion of the college’s property that allows us to stand on campus here today. By the end of his tenure, our enrollment had doubled.”
Dr. Sarafian passed away in 1989, but members of his family attended the groundbreaking event. Sarafian’s son, Norman, of Reno, Nevada, accepted a commemorative photo on behalf of the Sarafian family.
The completion of the building is set for 2024.