Feb 162005
Authors: Lila Hickey

Construction begins this May on a 21,000 square foot expansion to the Lory Student Center, said the student center's director Wednesday night in a presentation to the Associated Students of CSU.

The facility, which will include a renovation and addition at the building's north end, is part of a transit service project funded by the Federal Transport Authority, Mike Ellis said. The renovations will cost $6 million. A previous, related expansion cost around $2 million, he said.

"I don't know of another project in the country that has a partnership formed with the city and with the FTA that allows them to secure $8 million in funding," Ellis said.

Renovations will begin with the destruction of the Outdoor Adventure Program facility after spring graduation and will continue for approximately a year. Noteworthy additions include an indoor transit office, a new student lounge, relocation of The Lobby Shop, expansion of El Centro Student Services and a permanent office for RamRide, CSU's fast-growing safe-ride program.

"It gives a lot more stability to the program and lessens the workload," said RamRide Director Brian Hardouin of the planned office.

RamRide operates from a meeting room in the student center's north end, and RamRide volunteers are forced to move equipment in and out several times each week. This difficulty was the source of significant objections to RamRide's Thursday expansion.

The expansions have been considered for several years, Ellis said.

"We wanted it to feel very homey, 'cause this is the place where a lot of students come as their hideout away from home," said ASCSU President Katie Clausen, who served on the project's steering committee.

With that in mind, designers focused on blending the expansion into the building, improving pathways in and around the building, and building an environmentally friendly structure. In fact, the expansion will receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, Ellis said, a qualification given to structures that meet a series of environmentally friendly criteria.

"We will be the first certified LEED building in this addition, on campus," Ellis said.

Designers plan to use natural light to provide 75 percent of the facility's lighting, reuse materials from the to-be-demolished adventure program building, and recycle decorating materials like carpets and countertops.

""I think there's just been a push on campus to be more environmentally conscious," Ellis said. "Ultimately, it costs a little more (but) over the long haul it actually costs less."

Senators voiced concern that ASCSU's negotiations with Transfort over continued funding of the city's transit system might cause problems with the construction, but Ellis and Clausen disagreed.

"We're trying to keep them entirely separate," said Clausen, who is discussing CSU funding for Transfort with the city.

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