WENATCHEE — A new Wells Hall on the Wenatchee Valley College campus is a step closer this week.
The city’s hearing examiner on Tuesday approved the conditional use permit for the $37 million project.
The approval sets into motion a game of musical chairs for 68 faculty and staff members who will begin moving to temporary space on or near campus June 21. That’s leading up to the demolition of four wings of the 1951-era five-wing building.
The fifth wing, which includes the campus theater and ceramics studio, will remain intact and become a stand-alone building.
Moves not completed before summer quarter begins will happen between the end of summer quarter and Sept. 9, the start of fall quarter.
Demolition is expected to start Nov. 4.
The 28,154 square feet of space to be demolished includes 12 classrooms and offices and program spaces in the one-story structure.
In its place will be a three-story, 70,000-square-foot building with 25 classrooms — seven on the first floor and nine on each of the upper floors, with offices, program spaces and a conference center.
The project is expected to be completed in the fall 2021.
During construction, WVC is making use of two portables that will be brought on campus, plus some off-campus leased space.
The portable classrooms will be placed at the northeast corner of the campus next to Ninth Street. One will have two traditional classrooms and the other will have one classroom and a training room for the certified nursing program. The two buildings will serve a maximum of 435 students a day.
WVC is leasing 4,220 square feet of classroom space (about five classrooms, serving a maximum of 717 students a day) from Sage Hills Church, 1601 Fifth St., across from the Jack and Edna Maguire Student Recreation Center. Parking on site will be available for those attending classes at the church, but parking by WVC students, faculty or employees will not be allowed in the temporary gravel parking lot east of the church.
Those moves were approved in the conditional use permit, along with a requirement that WVC must upgrade the crosswalk at the intersection of Fifth and Pershing streets to provide better access to the temporary off-campus classrooms.
A traffic study also will be required before a building permit is issued. The results of the study will determine whether WVC would have to help the city pay for improvements at the intersection of Fifth Street and Western Avenue.
WVC has created a Wells Hall construction page on its website to help track the process.