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August 25, 2003

Growth spurs new campus facilities

Throw together mushrooming enrollment, voter-approved bonds, fundraising, and an accumulation of parking fees and you get …

A growth spurt.

Oak tree being relocated on campus - Photo by Frank Whitlatch

Photo by Frank Whitlatch

NEW DIGS – Making room for construction of the Academic Information Resource Center meant some campus trees got new homes this summer. This oak was transported from its previous location next to the library to the north side of Sacramento Hall, replacing a tree that died in the spring.

That’s obvious across CSUS these days, as construction crews dig, haul and hammer the days away.

Long-held dreams and years of planning are coming to fruition. And with the recent changes to the University’s master plan, exciting new projects are in the works.

Three major building projects are underway, including a pair near the recently completed Napa Hall along Highway 50 that will be completed by early next year. They are a new home for Capital Public Radio, with a distinctive half-circle design and a future broadcast tower, and the 80,000 square-foot Modoc Hall, which will have office, lab and classroom space.

The Academic Information Resource Center just south of the library will be under construction until late 2004. The 100,000 square-foot, $17.3 million building will house specialized computer labs, facilities for distance learning and campus technology staff. It’s funded through the 1998 statewide education bond.

Slated to begin in late spring is work on a new parking structure between Hornet Stadium and the University Union, funded through parking fees. At 3,200 spaces, it will be the largest in the 23-campus CSU system.

There are also new entryways, wrought iron-style fencing and a lighted, 36-foot “monolith” sign for Hornet Stadium. That project, along with the new scoreboard at Hornet Stadium, is paid for with a gift of more than $500,000 from Alex G. Spanos, the benefactor who gave $1 million for the track and field improvements that helped lure the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Track and Field Trials to CSUS.

Of course, there’s also the digging.

Faculty and staff who were here for the summer couldn’t miss all the trenches. Around virtually every corner, crews were updating or installing underground telecommunications lines.

Matt Altier, CSUS associate vice president of facilities management, says that trench work should be nearly completed by the start of fall semester. The remainder will be done during breaks. The telecommunications work on the interior of buildings will be done over the next 18 months.

But Altier warns that nobody is likely to be spared when the next digging begins. The $18 million utilities infrastructure upgrade project, funded through the last education bond, will last almost two years. It will include work on water and sewage pipes, electrical systems, and more.

“We’ll be replacing or repairing just about everything that’s underground,” Altier says. “Unfortunately, it is going to make a mess for the next couple years, but this is just something you have to do every 30 or 40 years. We will keep the campus community informed during the process, and will keep the project on track and as pleasant and customer-focused as we possibly can.”

Beyond current projects, CSUS has been planning for long-term growth and changes.

If the education bond anticipated to be on the March ballot is approved by voters, funds are expected for a remodel and addition to Eureka Hall and for a new science building. Depending on funding, a new 650- to 700-bed residence hall could be completed by spring or fall 2006. It would be built where Foley Hall now stands.

In fact, the plans for new student housing is part of a new residence hall master plan that calls for replacing the old residence halls one-by-one as funding allows. Under that plan, there would also be new parking around each hall and a new perimeter road for better access, as well as a pedestrian bridge leading from the student housing to the rest of campus.

And the University as a whole has a revised master plan as well – the first major changes to the plan in 15 years.

In addition to student housing, highlights of the revised master plan include a student health/recreation/convocation center and arena attached to Hornet Stadium, a new bookstore near the University Union, and upgrades to or a replacement for Riverfront Center food services.

Many other new buildings and additions remain where they were in previous versions of the master plan, while other hoped-for facilities are dependent on private donors. Meanwhile, moving the planned locations of some buildings along with planned improvements to perimeter road would give the University additional space near Highway 50 and the railroad tracks.

“This plan is about looking at the most efficient way of growing,” Altier explains. “The master plan is very fluid, we can change locations and add more buildings. What it gives us is a strategic vision for growth – how we can align the needs of the campus community with building space and projected building space.”

The master plan is designed for an eventual enrollment of about 32,000 (25,000 full-time equivalent) – which was the enrollment cap for CSU campuses until this May, when the CSU Board of Trustees changed the policy. The system now allows campuses to grow beyond that limit. CSUS planners project enrollment could reach that 32,000 level by 2007.




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