With fall classes set to begin Monday at Yakima Valley College, the campus at 16th Avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard will see a lot more activity soon. But the southwest corner of that busy intersection is already bustling as an ambitious expansion project moves into high gear.
BORArchitecture and G.H. Moen Construction are transforming the former Koi Asian Bistro restaurant and two adjacent structures into the Yakima Valley College West Campus. Originally built as a small retail plaza, the buildings will house a new Larson Gallery and wine tasting room, several of the college’s Allied Health Technology programs and a meeting space, all with much-needed parking.
The college bought the property for $3.7 million in 2017.
Workers have installed a decorative metal fence along Nob Hill Boulevard and have focused on the parking lot, more recently removing the facade of the westernmost building and gutting its interior. That and the middle building will be joined to become one structure, the Allied Health Building & Conference Center.
Construction is ahead of schedule, said Teresa Rich, vice president of administrative services for the college.
“The timeline hasn’t changed much. The Allied Health Building will be open next fall, a year from now. The conference center should be open about that time, the Larson Gallery tasting room maybe two months later,” she said.
The former Koi Asian Bistro alongside 16th Avenue will become the new Larson Gallery, with art exhibits and a gift shop. The gallery’s home since 1949, a rectangular red brick building on the northeast corner officially known as the A.E. (Adelbert Everard) and Rose Parker Larson Art Gallery, will be used for classes and offices. The new gallery, with its tasting room operated by the college’s Vineyard and Technology program, is expected to be finished in December 2020, with move-in the next month, according to a project schedule from May.
“All in all, it will be completely open January 2021,” Rich said.
G.H. Moen might have been one of the first contractors on campus, she noted. The Yakima firm has existed since 1933.
Along with the big changes coming on that corner is something more subtle but worth noting. The parking lot will include eight electric vehicle charging stations, Rich said. The college received a grant for that part of the campus expansion from Pacific Power & Light.
They will stand near the main entrance off Nob Hill Boulevard and will be free, she added.