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'Imagine Placer Center' survey offers a chance to have a say in its future

Sacramento State Placer Ranch, which will be on 301 acres near the center of the Placer Ranch development, is meant to expand higher education opportunities in the region and provide a welcome amenity for that part of the region. (Image courtesy of Placer Ranch Inc.)

Imagine getting to design the campus of the future.

Sac State students, employees, and alumni have the rare opportunity of helping develop the concept phase for the Sacramento State Placer Center’s master plan.

Placer Center is Sac State’s planned off-campus academic site, to be built on 301 acres in unincorporated Placer County as a centerpiece of the 2,200-acre master-planned Placer Ranch development in one of the state’s fastest-growing regions.

The “Imagine Placer Center” survey went out to the campus community last week. Participants are being asked to choose their favorite images from an array of photographs in the categories of architecture, the built environment, landscape and public realm, sustainability and resilience, mobility, and student experience.

“It is essential that we actively seek input from campus constituents and the community about the future of the Placer Center,” said Jonathan Bowman, Sac State vice president for Administration and CFO. “The survey is one of the many touch points we are employing to ensure we receive robust input regarding the center from the Sac State community.”

Project manager Tania Nunez emphasizes the importance of public input to the planning for Placer Center. (Sacramento State)

The survey takes about five minutes to complete.

“It will help us understand what the Sac State community, including our partners at Sierra College and project neighbors, would like to see there, so that we can be responsive to that in our planning,” said project manager Tania Nunez, a licensed architect in the University’s Facilities Planning department.

“If we were to build a campus with a traditional collegiate gothic aesthetic, like one might see at Harvard University, will that speak to the people of this area? We won’t know if we don’t ask,” Nunez said.

The survey, created by the architecture firm Sasaki, also has been shared with Placer County residents and students, employees and other people affiliated with Sierra College, which is one of the University’s largest feeder schools. Among the first buildings expected to be developed at the site are a Placer County crime lab and a Sierra College transfer center.

In March 2020, the CSU trustees approved creation of the Sacramento State Placer Center and accepted the land gift from Placer Ranch Inc., owned by entrepreneur Eli Broad. The 301 acres had an appraised value of $27.4 million.

The “Imagine Placer Center” survey will help to inform the master plan, a document that determines any future design and development of the site.

“The master plan also alerts the community and stakeholders as to what we intend to do with that land,” Nunez said. “The discovery and assessment phase has been completed, and we’ve moved on to the concept phase.

“When we open the doors, whenever that is, it will not be a full-grown campus. That takes decades, so we lay out how that development happens over time and where those first buildings will be and how many students they will serve.”

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About Dixie Reid

Dixie Reid has been a writer for Sac State since 2012 after decades as a newspaper reporter. A Texas native with the accent to prove it, Dixie is crazy about “dear friends, big dogs, good books, great food, day trips, baking cookies, California sunshine (and fog), and kind people.”

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