NEEDLES — Modular classrooms are in, electricity and plumbing were being hooked up and concrete connecting walkways have been poured for the Needles Center of Palo Verde College.
Housed in the historic Claypool Building at Broadway and E Street, a gift of the Claypool family to the college, the Needles Center was to received some updates to come into compliance with California’s Division of the State Architect dictates for school buildings. A second phase, according to Needles Center Dean Lale Cilenti, M.S., is work on the mezzanine of the historic retail building to house a classroom and laboratories.
Two points Cilenti stressed are:
1) There is to be no interruption of classroom schedules; and
2) The money’s already there to pay for the project. “We don’t have to ask for anything from the community,” Cilenti said: “The only thing we might do, the adult education program that I’m the director of has funds to provide some equipment … those are all short term programs that really meet a huge need and that falls under the California Adult Education Program.
“It’s important for the community to know those are already available to us. No other funds will be required.”
The various concerns of the DSA are to be addressed in the first phase of the project. Sealed bids were to be received by Oct. 16, followed by opening and possible college board of trustees approval during their meeting of Nov. 12. Cilenti said there were five or six contractors attending a pre-bid walk through on Sept. 10. The hope is for work to be done by April or May.
“As soon as it’s done we have additional plans for the mezzanine,” Cilenti explained. “What we originally planned about four years ago, was the upstairs would have a classroom and a section where part would be a nursing lab. We’ve had a lot of requests for certified nursing assistants and other (medical field occupations).
“Ultimately, plans include getting a Licensed Vocational Nurse program started up there. We’ve been talking to Colorado River Medical Center — we have a good relationship with them — and when these programs get started we’ll be able to do internships and clinicals over there.”
Future expansion might include a phlebotomy program and a science laboratory.
“When I first started here one of my major goals was to increase the number of programs offered at the Needles Center,” Cilenti said. “A major part of that plan was to complete the mezzanine so we had more in-house programs.
Why upstairs? “All these require nursing equipment,” Cilenti explained. “Beds, appropriate sinks and everything. The problem downstairs is there’s no water. Upstairs is all plumbed so we’ll have water.
“We’re excited about that. We’re hoping that will start the second phase of the renovation as soon as this DSA contract is completed and signed off on. As soon as we get (the bids) in and awarded the work is ready to go. In the meantime we have a lot of work to do to get ourselves ready to move into the modulars.”
Two in the row of portable structures or modulars alongside the main building will be set up for face-to-face or ITV (remote viewing) classes; a third will be used for the very popular quilting class. “That’s one of our classes the community really likes and participates in and we wanted to make sure they had a separate modular for all their equipment,” Cilenti said.
Administrative offices on the end closest to Broadway and bathrooms at the opposite end complete the layout.