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Long Beach City College is getting a boost in its science programs — with a $14.17 million renovation that began this week on building D at the Liberal Arts campus.

The renovation, paid for by voter-approved Measure E bonds, includes new classrooms and lab areas, paint and updates on the first and second floor — about 17,512 square feet of the 27,000-square-foot total area. It’s expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Other items include a second microbiology classroom on the second floor that will double the current capacity; new data cables in the entire building; audiovisual upgrades; water-conserving fixtures; and energy-efficient replacements for two HVAC units with an exhaust fan.

“This renovation will revitalize our science programs with state-of-the-art facilities and technology to better prepare students for 21st century challenges in critical STEM fields,” LBCC superintendent-president Eloy Ortiz Oakley said in a release. “It will also increase capacity and allow more students to enroll in science courses.”

Paul Creason, dean for the school of health, kinesiology, science and mathematics, said he’s looking forward to the upgrades.

“I’m very excited about it,” Creason said. “It will enable us to expand our microbiology, physiology and anatomy courses, which are in very high demand in our area. We have a waitlist of over 200 in those courses.”

Additionally, the school’s radiology program has a three-year waitlist.

The reason for the demand, he said, is mostly because they are prerequisites for nursing programs. He said they’re also important for STEM careers.

An example of the expansion, Creason said, is LBCC will go from offering seven physiology courses per semester to 14, allowing for about 250 or more students per semester.

Besides having more space, the state-of-the-art classrooms will provide models, computers and other resources to help students learn course material, Creason said.

Measure E bonds have provided $440 million in new construction, repairs and renovations for LBCC’s liberal arts and pacific coast campuses. The bonds were approved in 2002 and 2008 for construction and modernization. The college is in its 11th year of the $616 million modernization process.

The building will stay open during construction, a release said. The project, as with all work at LBCC, will use green building guidelines to reduce energy and water usage.

Architects MSP and T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc. are the architect and general contractor, respectively. Cordoba Corporation manages all of LBCC’s Measure E construction.

For more information, visit www.lbcc.edu.

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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