Steep Slope Cutting In Yucaipa

Story by Loren Faulkner | September 28, 2010

Ray Cranmer, Tilden-Coil superintendent for all current Crafton Hills College projects in Yucaipa, CA, had this to say about excavation and new construction on the 523-acre hillside site with views overlooking a valley and Mount San Jacinto to the east: "The design of the Learning Resource Center building is going to be built into the side of a hill. Along with that, the matching of existing buildings and terrain creates construction challenges, including steep terrain in canyon removals and loose subterranean soils in those canyons."

The community college was first built 36 years ago. The current upgrading and building additions are part of its planned 25-year growth strategy. It includes a 60,000-square-foot, three-story Learning Resource Center (LRC)/Library, a new access road, a swimming pool, other infrastructure including a temporary parking lot, and new infrastructure projects.

Cranmer says the typical slope angles Tilden-Coil has to deal with are existing 1.5-to-1, and that slope degrees they are having to change or reshape in various places of construction are 2-to-1 and less from existing 1.5-to-1.

He says his company is not using specialized equipment or attachments. Everything they are using would be considered conventional dozers, using conventional equipment — track dozers, self-loading scrapers, rubber tire dozers, and motor graders.

Overall, 120,000 yards cut-and-fill earth will have been excavated on-site with a crew size averaging eight men for two months for earth work.

When asked whether crews are having to off-haul soils, or are using them elsewhere on the campus site, Cranmer said, "We are not hauling soils off. This is what is called a 'balance job site,' where we have grading cuts and the soils are used in fill areas."

Although at this point there are no environmental issues to speak of, says Cranmer, a paleontologist with ECOR visits the site periodically. Earlier environmental studies gave the construction a green light regarding plant and wildlife on the campus construction site. And normal SWPPs, i.e. Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans, are in place.

Crafton Hills College has nearly 6,000 enrolled students and employs a staff of some 300 that includes full and part-time professors and other personnel.