New parking structure progresses by avoiding past mistakes

The upper campus construction is on schedule due to the university working closely with contractors.




Augusta McDonnell, Writer

Despite the materials failure in 2011 while constructing the Lot S parking structure, the new construction is on schedule and has had no delays due to material failure. | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES


As the new upper campus parking structure begins to take shape, past mishaps lend insight into its construction. Delays caused by material failure have been completely avoided thus far in the current parking structure construction project.

In 2011, a materials failure caused a minor structure collapse during the concrete pour of the second level of the now-completed Lot S parking structure, said Greg Balsano, vice president of university services. Biola has contracted with the same company who built the Lot S parking structure, HB Parkco Construction.


Prior to implementation, all materials used in a construction project are required to pass inspection, and in that case, a single support pin seemed to have been overlooked, Balsano explained. The function of the pin is to hold the adjustable shoring support system steady while concrete is being poured into place. After the concrete hardens, the support system is removed.

“[It was] just a case of a defective pin,” Balsano said, adding that the placement and engineering of the structural supports had nothing to do with the collapse. Subsequently, all of the pins were replaced and the project continued.


Students can expect to see decking being poured on the upper campus parking structure early in October, according to Jody Spicer, project manager for construction under facilities planning. There will be four concrete pours in the first weeks of October, including the second level parking deck, and the structure will really begin to take shape, he said.

Plans for the new upper campus dorm temporarily dubbed “North Hall” were discussed in a meeting last Friday with the architects and civil engineers designing the project, according to Spicer. They are currently working on a building design that will satisfy some new Los Angeles County permitting requirements.

Another meeting regarding the new residence hall’s final pricing details will be happening this Friday, according to Balsano.

“Everything seems to be going along on time, and as planned,” he said.   

Balsano has seen many construction projects come and go on Biola’s campus, and he understands the difficulties they can cause for students and faculty. Balsano noted how it makes him cringe when planning projects near residence halls, taking into account how the noise and lack of parking will affect the campus.

However, the university works closely with contractors to ensure as much peace as possible on campus, he said.

He stated his commitment to keeping as much of the parking as possible on campus, as a convenience to students and staff alike, including commuters.

“There won’t be any issue now for a long, long time — hopefully never, there will be so much parking,” said Balsano. 

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