Grays Harbor College’s new SSIB building set for 18-month construction project

Development. That was the focal point for Grays Harbor College’s board members and facility leaders on Tuesday, May 18, at the groundbreaking ceremony of the college’s new Student Services & Instructional Building (SSIB) in the heart of the campus.

The ceremony, which was celebrated during a rare sighting of nice weather this spring, saw dozens of attendees from the college community despite having none of the elected city officials throughout Grays Harbor County in the audience.

The nearly 70,000-square-foot SSIB is being promoted as a welcoming gateway to Grays Harbor College’s campus by serving as a connecting point between the college and the community. In terms of its true purpose, the SSIB is slated to provide quality education and workforce programs that meet the needs of the local community.

The building will be three stories high and will eventually replace the Hillier Union Building (HUB). The first floor of the new SSIB building will feature amenities, such as a dining area, coffee bar and a space for student life.

The second floor will house all the college’s Student Services departments, while the top floor will feature a 550-person capacity conference center, meeting rooms, and a wide view of the harbor community at large.

The SSIB building concept dates back to 2004; a few years later, an application for constructing the building surfaced in 2008. Ed Brewster, who serves as the President of Grays Harbor College, was happy to see the colleges’ dedication to getting the project started with the hope of staying on time

“It’s about an 18-month project, so our hope is to have it open in the fall of 2023,” Brewster explained. “It could be done sooner if everything falls into place. That would (be) great obviously, but it’s not likely to happen given all that needs to be done.”

Brewster went on to explain that the hope was to start this project sooner, but a delay with a Department of Ecology permit happened, so the project was at a standstill until the process could sort itself out. He says the school is days away from an official permit from the department, which will mean full steam ahead for construction.

While the project is set to take an estimated 18 months, the construction of the SSIB building will not be the only thing that will happen over that time stretch.

According to Chad Lincoln, who will serve as the site construction manager, there are four phases of the project.

“Phase One is obviously the construction of the new SSIB building, that’s our main objective,” Lincoln said. “Phase Three, which was originally going to be the demolition of the old HUB building next summer, is now being pushed up to this summer. The plan for next summer is to do the original Phase Two and Phase Four of the project, which includes new retaining walls, sidewalks, parking lots, as well as a new plaza.”

While the demolition of the HUB building will be done prior to the completion of the new SSIB building, Lincoln said that students will be directed to other buildings throughout the campus for their Student Service’s needs.

According to published information from Grays Harbor College, the SSIB building will cost around $40 million to build.

The entire project has been funded at $52 million. Of that, $48 million is state capital funded by bond sales while $3.7 million is funded by students through a fee voted on and approved by the state body.

While construction starts to ramp up for the SSIB Building, that area will be closed off to the public for safety reasons.

For more information, people are invited to contact Grays Harbor College at 360-538-4066.