Santa Rosa Junior College’s new multilevel Lawrence A. Bertolini Student Services Center, scheduled for completion this month, brings together under one roof a number of vital student services previously disbursed across the Santa Rosa campus.
Named for a distinguished businessman, community leader and owner of the Western Farms Center who gave a lifetime of service to his college and the community, Mr. Bertolini served on SRJC’s Board of Trustees for 17 years, including two terms as board president. He was a founder of SRJC’s Alumni Association and served as the “voice of the Bear Cubs” at numerous athletic events for more than 50 years.
Built on the site of the former Doyle Student Center, the new $40 million facility on Elliott Avenue, built with funds from the 2002 Bond Measure A, mixes traditional collegiate Gothic-style design elements with a series of contemporary window, brick and native stone features. The building blends with the adjacent Frank P. Doyle Library, completed in 2006, and the SRJC bookstore in Pioneer Hall (the first building built on the campus in 1931) to surround the central campus plaza that shaded by a cluster of stately heritage oaks.
Designed by BSA Architects and built under the overall construction management of Wright Contracting Inc. who coordinates the work of all three multi-prime contractors – including general contractor Midstate Construction, Bell Products and Northern Electric – the 72,000-square-foot structure was the collective product of a cohesive team of subcontractors, engineers, consultants, landscape architects and interior designers working together for more than a year and a half.
“The Bertolini Student Services Center employs state-of-the-art features in the mechanical system,” said Tony Ichsan, SRJC’s dean of facilities planning and operations. “A vertical in-ground source heat pump, or commonly referred to as “geothermal” – the largest installation of its kind in the county – uses 150 well shafts six inches in diameter, 250 feet deep. This closed-loop system has tubes in the wells to take advantage of the constant 58o to 61oF earth’s temperature at that depth. This technology enables facility engineers to heat or cool the structure with a minimum of additional energy resources and reduces the need for large-scale mechanical equipment. The building also utilizes an enthalpy wheel as part of a supply/return air exchange system to help maintain a comfortable environment, improve the indoor air quality and reduced energy use.”
The purpose of the Bertolini Student Services Center is to attract students and entice them to stay on campus, a factor considered vital to student academic success at institutions without residence housing facilities, according to Ricardo Navarrette, vice president for student services and assistant superintendent of SRJC. “The first floor of the center is devoted to student engagement. It is a place where students can find almost everything they need to enhance their stay at the college. We want our students to become involved by providing basic amenities, such as a 300-seat indoor dining commons in a style reminiscent of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park complemented with outdoor patio seating.”
Meals will be provided by contract caterer Fresh and Natural. There is also the Bear’s Den Coffee House, a staff dining room and a 125-seat Student Activities Center with a small stage for entertainment, cultural presentations and other activities. When not used for events, this venue can be converted into a study lounge.