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TransAlta Student Commons

The construction of the TransAlta Student Commons building is a vital component in the long-term vision for the college campus. This project will allow new and enhanced programs to meet the identified needs of the community and complies with the 20-year Campus Master Plan.

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  • Project Overview

    Building Size - 69,980 square feet, three-story facility

    Building Highlights

    • Replaces deficient classroom and office spaces
    • Modernizes and expands space for Student Services
    • Admissions and Registration
    • Financial Aid
    • Cafeteria
    • Bookstore
    • Provides a 500-seat dining/meeting space
    • Includes dedicated spaces for student activities


    • Located in the central core of campus at the southern edge of the pedestrian mall on Walnut Street
    • Conveniently located near the theater arts building (Washington Hall) and across from the Walton Science Center
    • Ideally located for community celebrations, conferences, and other activities
    • Provides easy service access off Pear Street

    Projected Cost - $42,662,158

    Funding sources

    • $3 million - Associated Student of Centralia College (ASCC) and
    • $1 million Centralia College Capital Campaign (includes a $500,000 gift from TransAlta for naming rights)

    Projected Completion Date - July 2017

  • Project Timeline

    TransAlta Student Commons Project Timeline

    1999 Initial master plan is approved by the Board of Trustees
    Plan includes relocating the student center to the middle of campus
    2000 College master plan is incorporated into the City of Centralia Comprehensive Growth Plan
    2008 The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges places the TransAlta Student Commons on its prioritized capital list
    2009 Project planning begins
    Capital budget constraints freeze design and construction funding
    2009-2010 Meetings with city and neighborhood residents generate parking and traffic concerns
    The city asks the college to modify its parking plan to disburse parking around the campus perimeter
    City building permit requires replacement of off-street parking before approval
    2010 Board of Trustees approve modifications to master plan for parking
    The college works with the City of Centralia to vacate and transfer the public streets adjacent to the preferred site
    2011 Predesign of the building submitted to and approve by the Office of Financial Management
    2013 Pre-constructions funds are partially approved by legislature
    Permit, property acquisition, and parking funds not approved
    Design work is underway

    Projected dates/milestones

    Jan. 2014 Schematic design undergoes required Value Engineering review
    Intermediate costs are estimated
    Feb.-Sept. 2014 Bid documents undergo required Constructability Review
    Final costs are estimated
    December 2014 Final design documents are submitted for site plan review by city
    Jan.-Feb. 2014 Building permit is issued by City of Centralia, dependent on parking replacement
    April - May 2015 Project posted and bidding period opens
    May 2015 Submitted bids are reviewed
    Project is awarded to Schwiesow Construction, Inc.
    June 2015 Capital budget is approved by the legislature
    July 2015 Preconstruction meetings are held
    The construction timeline is finalized
    Construction begins
    Jan.-Feb. 2017 Construction is substantially completed
    Punch list inspection
    July 2017 Project is accepted
    Operations are transferred
    September 2017 Facility is in full operation
  • FAQs

    When will the new facility be open for use?

    The new building phase is expected to continue through July 2017

    Will construction work affect street parking?

    Yes, parking on Washington Street between Walnut and Pear Streets is closed

    One way parking is available on Washington Street between Waslnut Street and Centralia College Boulevard. This parking will shift to the China Creek Parking Lot when it is completed

    Who can I contact if I have any questions about the project?

    If you have any questions, call Steve Ward at 360-736-9391, ext. 233 or email Diane McGuinn at

  • Construction Updates

    April 28, 2016

    In March, the decking and side rails on the second and third floors of the east section of the TransAlta Commons were built, allowing for the installation of electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and other infrastructure. The west section of the building is now being built.

    Later this month, construction of the four-story atrium section, the showpiece of the facility and the defining structural element of the building, will begin.

    The campus circle at the intersection of Washington Avenue and the Aadland Esplanade will soon be transformed with bricks and pavers into the outdoor centerpiece of the college, tying together Washington Hall, Walton Science Center, Kiser Natural Outdoor Learning Lab, and the TransAlta Commons. This 13,000-square-foot circle will host a variety of campus and community events.

    December 2015

    TransAlta Commons

    • All of the structural foundation for the Commons should be completed this month.
    • Large steel beams and columns have shipped and will arrive this month. Starting in January and continuing through April, steel will be erected, forming the shell of the building.
    • Gates will be erected at the north and south ends of Washington Avenue to permanently close traffic once construction is completed. Gates will also be positioned at the west and east ends of Walnut Street leading onto the Aadland Esplanade.
    • Piping for the radiant floor has been installed in the insulation.

    Parking Expansion

    The college is working with interested property owners to purchase property adjacent to campus to continue adding to the inventory of available parking spaces for students.

    • The college has appraisals in process (or completed) on four parcels, with two currently in negotiation.
    • The college anticipates purchasing enough parcels by the end of June to provide another 100 spaces for student parking, bringing the total new parking to 220 stalls.
    • After this phase of expansion, the college will look to maximize parking on property already owned.

    July 15, 2015

    We now begin a two-year communication journey on the TAC project and how it impacts campus operations. This journey includes a website with webcams, site plans, and FAQs, and updates as we pass project milestones.

    • The project has started
    • The parking lot across from the Science Building is gone
    • A large part of the Library parking lot is also gone, along with reserve parking
    • Washington Street is closed between Walnut and Pear
    • Construction of a 120-stall parking lot (the China Creek Parking Lot) has started on the west side of campus
    • Work has begun on phase 2 parking with an equivalent amount of parking; the location is not yet determined

    July 1, 2015

    Today, the first round of meetings with the contractors for the TransAlta Commons (TAC) and the China Creek Parking Lot were held.

    On the plus side, the 120 parking stalls generated by the parking project will be completed prior to the start of classes this coming fall.

    Work on the TAC will commence July 6 with site work and escavating across from the science building. This means that Washington Street will be closed between Pear and Walnut. Related to this work, parking in the library lot will be reduced considerably, and parking across from the science building is no longer an option. For now, the reserved parking next to the west entrance to the library will remain in palce and, as the project progresses, we will develop a transition plan for those stalls.

    This is the very early phase of both projects, which have been disrupted by the capital budget process.

  • Construction Documents
Corbet Theatre & Washington Hall

Corbet Theatre & Washington Hall

Less than two hours from Portland and Seattle, and less than 30 minutes from Olympia, Centralia is a rural community that provides a great setting for study, leisure, and employment.

Cultural resources such as professional symphonies and art exhibits are available locally and within a short drive. Local arts and activities also include the community theatre, as well as a band and concert series.