Santa Rosa Junior College construction education center project delayed as cost soars

Santa Rosa Junior College is seeking $4 million more for the Petaluma project.|

Supply-chain issues and funding pressures have caused Santa Rosa Junior College to delay the groundbreaking for its construction education center at its Petaluma campus.

Catherine Williams, Ph.D., faculty lead for the construction training facility, said the start of the project, which was to begin last month, will be pushed back at least eight months.

“We are currently seeking $4 million in additional funding from the (U.S.) Economic Development Administration for construction costs to address the dramatic increase in material costs, lumber and steel, caused by supply chain factors,” Williams told the Business Journal. “If fully funded this spring, we will break ground in fall 2022, with completion in spring 2024.”

Williams said she does not have a specific date from the EDA as to when they will reply to the grant amendment request, but she is hoping to hear by mid-March. The project was initially expected to cost $8.1 million.

Meanwhile, there has been progress on another aspect of the project. TLCD Architecture on Dec. 3 completed its design work on the building, which will be housed on SRJC’s Petaluma campus.

It was in January 2020 when the community college and the Sonoma County Economic Development Board jointly announced an award of $7.12 million in grant funding to construct the SRJC Construction Center. The grant was funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s disaster relief fund.

Last year in September, it was announced that the project had received a $250,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

“The center, operating at full capacity, should be able to produce up to 500 skilled job seekers each year, which will make a big impact on the critical shortage of trained workers in the construction industry,” Nancy Miller, director of regional adult education programs for SRJC and the Sonoma County Adult Education Consortium, said during the January 2020 announcement.

Construction is the second-fastest growing industry for jobs in Sonoma County, with 9% anticipated between 2020 and 2023, according to Sonoma County Economic Development Board figures that Williams presented in May at the Business Journal’s Building the North Bay Construction Conference virtual event.

“Our construction-related industries are in a pressure cooker of demands,” Williams said during the event.

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