Text Box: SDCC's New Photo Facilities

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June 9, update:  We are in the process of installing and assembling furniture and equipment trying to get at least a classroom and darkroom ready for the summer 2010 semester.  The boondoggles have been sometimes nearly beyond belief but through it all things are lurching their way to completion.  Classes start June 22 and now we are told the furniture will not arrive until July.  Wonderful.  Se we are going to plan G (we went through plans B-F along the way) and will be temporarily bringing tables from the old rooms until the new stuff is delivered and installed.

My photographer friend and member of our advisory committee came by today for a tour and took some photos which you can see on his blog at www.photographyinparadise.com .

As soon as the fence around the building comes down and we start to have rooms set up with equipment I'll add new photos here as well.

February 12, Update:  Today we took another tour of the new facilities.  We wanted to see the progress plus we needed to show the rooms to some of the vendors who are bidding on equipment and materials.  And, we had some faculty and lab techs who had not had a previous chance to see it as it has been evolving.  Here are the shots I took as we introduced these folks to what will be our new home.

As you can see when you compare the exterior shot to earlier ones (below), the west facing facade is nearly completed.  Scaffolding is gone except for the central stairwell, the veneers are all in place, and the "lantern" area (the glass enclosed corner on the upper two floors closest to the camera) is almost completed both in and out.  As you may recall we have the top two floors and therefore all of the lantern.  The bottom floor of it (the fourth floor of the building) will be a classroom.  Light and airy, it is perfect... except for the need to project images but then we have plenty more classrooms for that.  And, when not used as a classroom it could make a great space for shooting natural light or if, for some reason, the other three large studio spaces were busy.

The top of the lantern, nearly two stories tall, is the outer window area of our new gallery space. 


The shot to the left is from inside the west section of the new gallery looking north out the lantern windows. 

On the other side of the wall to the right in the photo (and on the right column here) is another long hallway, nearly as wide as the primary gallery, which is also part of the  available gallery space.

This will give us some fabulous space to show off photographic art both from our students and also from shows brought in to help in our educational mission.  We have been discussing with MOPA the idea of also occasionally being a "satellite" gallery space for them.

In may ways, when putting on our best face to the public or reaching out to potential students, this space will be perfect for showing off what our students can do.

We will have three wet darkrooms.  On the left here is one of the two full sized rooms, each of which which will have two chemical lines, sinks and washers. 

On the right is the small "teaching" and special use darkroom with a single line. 


Of course before you can print you need to process your film and so here, to the right, is the film possessing room with lots of sink area and, on each side there are large film loading booths.  You can see the tour group looking into one on the far side of the room. 

These large loading booths have plenty of elbow room to move around and not crowd your gear around where you are trying to load your film.  

(In addition to these rooms designed for wet darkroom procedures,  there are special rooms for digital printing and scanning but this time when we were there the lights were off in those rooms and it was too dark for a reasonable photo.)

After you make your print (either silver or ink based) you will need space to dry, mount, mat, and finish off the final photographic prints.  Below then are shots of two rooms for print drying, viewing, and one for mounting/matting and other finishing steps.

Notice all of the storage space in cabinets beneath the counter tops.  In the mounting room (on the right) there are three counter heights to accomodate a range of individuals so they can work comfortably.

Before anyone thinks we have entirely lost our minds and not included digital photography in our considerations, let me hasten to add that of the five classrooms we have available in the new building, three of them are designed as digital classrooms.  Below is one of the digital classrooms which will house approximately 30 computers.  The large gray cylinder on the left of the shoot is a roll of carpeting.


In our current facilities, we are so out of storage room it is pitiful.  In the new place, in addition to multiple dedicated storage rooms throughout the area, and the cabinetry you have already see in the above shots, the new check out/issue room has a wealth of shelving to accommodate the items we check out to students and provide us a far better and far more visible inventory control.

The shot to the left is looking in the door to the check-out room.  To the right would be the window.  Down the hallway are rows of shelving.  The one you can see in the back is hiding another row of shelving too.

This should help us speed up the entire check out procedure for items like cameras and other equipment. 


And we haven't forgotten about some storage lockers for students.  Here is a shot inside the students' locker room.  There are multiple sized lockers to accommodate anything from a small book bag to large sheets of mat board.

This will help to relieve the issues of students having to leave their stuff in places like the classrooms, or out in the mounting areas where they can be easily stolen. No longer will you have to try to stuff your gear alongside an enlarger or set it at your feet to get wet or to fall over in the dark.

We hope this will keep students' stuff far more secure than it has ever been and also allow them to put it somewhere that it does not interfere with their work or the work of others.

Unfortunately with some of the lights being off and a new wet terrazzo floor that had just been laid, did not allow us to photograph the studio spaces.  But there are three new, large studios (each with more space than our current one) all with cove walls (one with a full "cyc" two-wall cove and each will have grid mounted lights for both shooting stations. 

Two of the studios will have dressing rooms and one will have a kitchen where we can prepare stuff for shooting food (or for catering events in the studio).

But lest you think we forgot that in the midst of all of the work we expect from our students, some time to relax is needed, our new facilities also includes a patio.  This shot is taken looking back into the building (roughly NNE) but behind the camera position is a great view of the Coronado Bridge and the bay.

The target completion for construction in March 31, 2010.  Between then and the move-in date of June 1, furniture will be installed along with lighting, darkroom, equipment, AV equipment, etc.  We will not be able to get back into the building to see progress until mid to late April but when that happens I'll provide any new updates here.


December 14 Update.  We had a chance to see the progress that has been made in the slightly more than a month's time since our last visit and it was amazing.  The exterior treatments are nearly done including the brick veneer and the sheathing around the "lantern" which is what the architects call the NW corner with the big windows.  Dry-walling is nearly completed on both floors and it is beginning to look like a real space.   They still are expecting the construction phase to be finished by the end of March 2010. 

October 23 Update.  The construction crew is starting on the interior of the building now and we got a quick tour.  Work is progressing from the bottom to the top floors so our floors are still quite unfinished.  The 4th floor has dry wall up but the 5th is still open steel framing.  However to view a video of the tour, click on the play button. 

(The streaming video is downloaded  from a remote site.  it will play fine on a cable modem.  Sometimes, if you have a DSL connection, the playback starts before the buffer is ready.  if that happens it starts in jerks until the buffer is ready then plays normally.  When that occurs you can pause the playback until the buffer line gets about an inch ahead of the play point on the time line and then it will play correctly.  if you have Dial-Up then you will need to simply imagine a great building...)


Word has it now that we will begin the move in June 2010 and it is possible, though far from assured, that we may have some of our skeletal schedule of summer classes in there.

August 28 Update.  The new building is really taking shape now.  We have heard two "knowledgeable" estimates of occupancy.  during the faculty convocation for Fall 2009 the College President said it would be ready sometime in Spring semester 2009. 

However the construction manager, with whom we met concerning some studio fitting, said he expected the building itself to be completed in Feb or Mar of 2010 but then the interior would need to be finished off (walls and wall covering, carpets, painting, etc.) would have to be done.  That would put the move-in date to summer and the likely "open for business" date to Fall of 2010.

But from the outside at least, the building is definitely taking shape along with the attached parking garage.  You can scroll down through the updates to see the progress that has been made.



















On May 1, 2009, the construction crew held their traditional "Topping Off" ceremony for the new CTC building.  Tgis is when the highest beam is put in place.  For the ceremony, admin personnel, faculty from the programs in the new building and the workers themselves, signed the beam. Then with an American Flag and en evergreen tree affixed to the beam, it was hoisted and set in place.  Here are some photos from the event.  (All of the photos from the topping off ceremony were taken by and are used by permission from the copyright holder, Prof. Melinda Holden)  

The flag and tree affixed to the beam

Prof Dave Eichinger puts his name on the beam.

The signal is given to hoist the beam into place.


The beam has just been set in place.

The beam being brought into position.
All photographs on this page from the topping off ceremony are (c) Melinda Holden, All rights Reserved.
So it appears the CTC building is moving right along.  It is a month or two behind schedule due largely to the discovery of a toxic dump when the excavation started, but now it is rising a little more each day toward completion. 

The view of the work site (also taken on May 1, 2009) is from the same angle as the first architectural drawing below. The parking structure which will be just to the left of the main building in this view has not yet been started.

Below are renderings of the completed building.

In Spring Semester, 2010, the Photography Program at San Diego City College is slated to open its doors in a brand new facility.  Our current old, cramped, under 4,000 square feet space will be replaced by a brand new, spacious and beautiful area just under 30,000 square feet in area.  Located on the 4th and 5th floors of the new CTC* building it will contain a gallery, multiple studios, computerized classrooms , labs, finishing areas, even lockers for students.  And it will open to a new expanded photo program.  The plan is to take advantage of this world class facility to house a world class photo program that will take a back seat to none other anywhere.

Here are the architectural drawings of the new building  (we will have the 4th and 5th floors) as it is currently envisioned.

* The name was originally "VTC" for "Vocational Technology Center. Now it is "CTC" for "Career Technology Center."  The PC world at its finest...
This is the building looking SE from the corner of 16th and C streets.  The top two floors are for the photo program.

The glass structure in the corner of the building is where the gallery will be located.

To the east (left) of the building will be a parking garage for faculty and students.

This is the west side of the building. This view shows the main entrance and glassed-in stairwell. 

The bottom floor will house cosmetology and the 2nd and 3rd floor will be home to the nursing department.

The corner of 16th and Broadway looking north east.  The balcony is on the fourth floor and belongs to photography.

The flat gray wall overlooking the balcony is being considered to be turned into a display wall for projected images.

Same angle but looking down on the balcony/patio area.

The somewhat transparent structure to the right of the drawings is an existing building that will remain in place.


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