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Fall 2004 l Capital University Journal
Destination 2010
Sac State in for‘ extreme makeover’

Photo: Ground Breaking
Sac State spent decades debating whether to become a residential campus—one where students both study and live at the University.

Three on-campus residence halls were built in the 1950s, but later housing efforts stalled. Many students of that era seemed to prefer living off-campus and commuting, and today there are just five halls for 1,100 students.

Photo: Shovels lined up That’s about to change.

After just a few months on the job last year, Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez had made a decision to end the debate. Predicting that more students living on campus would bring new energy and enthusiasm to the campus, he approved a plan to tear down the old halls and replace them with apartments for as many as 5,000 students.

“We’ll continue to put students first. The students who come here work hard and dream big…”

Sac State should be and will be, Gonzalez has repeatedly said, “a destination campus for the West and a flagship of the California State University system.”

Graphic: Mapping the Future

Graphic: Destination 2010That vision of a residential campus is at the heart of the University’s “Destination 2010” initiative—an ambitious plan to re-make the campus in just a few years while expanding opportunity with new scholarships. The plans were enthusiastically endorsed by the CSU Board of Trustees in the spring.

Gonzalez says Sac State, already a great regional university, is poised to become much more.

“I’ve talked with groups all over campus and in the community,” Gonzalez says. “And I’ve learned that people really care about this University, and they have a strong desire to help it live up to its full potential.”

Gonzalez thinks the energy of campus life is a key missing piece. When combined with Sac State’s strong academic programs and commitment to great teaching, his thinking is that a vibrant campus life will help attract student interest from top students locally and throughout the West, boosting the University’s reputation. Additional community and donor support will follow, as more people become committed to Sac State’s potential. One success will lead to other successes…

Many of the plans are already moving forward.

Developers have presented proposals for on-campus housing this fall, and the first new residence hall could open by 2007. Combined with new housing being built nearby and existing apartments, 10,000 students will eventually be walking to class.

And campus life will get an additional boost from a planned 236,000 square-foot Recreation Wellness and Events Center.

Gonzalez told student leaders this year he would work to raise private support for the center as long as the student body as a whole supported it. The proposal, which in other variations had failed in student elections, was approved by more than 55 percent. Gonzalez is now committed to raising $25 million for the project, and students will eventually pay a fee to support it.

The recreation center promises to be a signature facility, with students able to exercise, go to concerts, attend athletic events and more at one exciting facility. Located on the north side of Hornet Stadium, it will include such things as a new student health center, fitness center, swimming pool, athletic courts, a bowling center, fitness classrooms, a childcare center, a conference center and an 8,000-seat arena for events such as commencement and intercollegiate athletics.

And the perennial parking problem may be solved over the next few years as well. Not only will an increasing number of students be walking to class, but a new 3,200-space parking
garage will soon be under construction near Hornet Stadium. It will be the largest in the CSU, and is scheduled to double in size with a future addition.

Other facilities in the works include new academic buildings as tall as eight stories, a Performing Arts Center near Highway 50, an expansive University Park through the center of campus where old and inefficient buildings now stand, a new bookstore and expanded food services. There’s also a Space Science Center and a building for the College of Business Administration’s MBA program, both of which will require significant donor funding.

More, including a video presentation:

Photo: Site of Sac State Placer Campus in South Placer County
Sac State’s 300-acre campus on J Street isn’t the only piece of land getting the attention of University planners.

There’s also 280 acres near Roseville where a new Sac State Placer Campus is in the works. That dream came closer to reality in May when the University and Placer Ranch signed a formal agreement for a gift of land to build the campus.

“At Sacramento State, we’ve always seen ourselves as embracing the whole region. With this campus, that will be more literally true,” Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez said. “A quarter-century from now, the people of Placer County will look back on this as a momentous agreement.”

Gonzalez said the campus might eventually grow into a separate California State University.

The gift of land is at the originally proposed site that was announced in 2003. It’s near the juncture of Fiddyment Road and Sunset Blvd. West in South Placer County, in the proposed 2,200-acre development called Placer Ranch that’s owned by venture philanthropist Eli Broad.

Groundbreaking could be as early as 2006.

The Capital Region, with about 2 million people, only has two comprehensive four-year universities (Sac State and UC Davis). That’s far fewer than many regions of similar size. And the population growth trends in the Roseville area clearly justify a Sac State presence.

But while it seems good in the abstract, the Placer Campus faces many practical hurdles. It would need voter-approved bond funding and most likely some private support for construction.
The state would have to commit to funding its operations, and Placer officials are still debating how the campus could fit into the area’s growth plans.

In the meantime, initial planning continues.

Designers are working on proposals for what the campus might look like. And on the academic side, Sac State faculty and Placer leaders are working out preliminary plans for the curriculum. One thing that’s clear is there will be an emphasis on high-demand areas like technology, business and teacher education.

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