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Campus work praised by local firms

Sierra College’s buildings are filled with people looking to learn skills for job opportunities.

In a twist, even constructing new buildings on the Grass Valley campus is an opportunity to educate.

Learning how to bid for and build these kinds of public education projects was an immense opportunity for Sierra Foothills Construction, western Nevada County’s largest building firm, said Keoni Allen, the company’s president.



His Grass Valley firm is one of two locally working on the $13.7 million campus remodeling and construction project, expected to wrap up this fall.

“A huge part of the success story is that we learned from Sierra College about how to get these contracts, and now I’ve got two more (contracts) with the Nevada City School District,” Allen said. “It’s given me the skill set to pursue these projects locally that might have otherwise gone to outside firms.”




Sierra Foohills and Grass Valley’s Tru-Line Builders got the contracts by partnering with Clark and Sullivan, a construction firm with offices in Reno, Las Vegas and Sacramento that has an extensive background in building educational facilities.

Sierra Foothills Construction was awarded $3.8 million to remodel 12 buildings and is on schedule, Allen said. The company is employing about 20 subcontractors and a handful of suppliers to get the job done. From May to August, the company will complete its work by remodeling the school’s cafeteria and science laboratory.

Construction is also on time and below budget for Allen’s partner in the project, Tru-Line builders. That firm is constructing three new buildings on campus, said project engineer Daniel Swartzendruber.

Tru-Line was awarded roughly $8.9 million for the new buildings. It’s important the money is staying local, Swartzendruber said.

“It’s really huge for us,” he added.

Tru-Line is building a gymnasium, wellness center and 225-seat multi-purpose room on the campus at Sierra College Drive.

The wellness center should be ready by August, Swartzendruber said, and the deadline to finish construction is October.

The quality of western Nevada County workmanship should stand out to people viewing the project, Allen said.

“I think they’ll find out our builders are every bit as good as these outside firms,” Allen said.

Because Nevada County residents are footing the bill for the construction with an education bond passed in 2004, Allen said it matters where that money is spent.

“It’s our money, so it makes total sense our money should stay local,” Allen said.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail kmagin@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.


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