This semester, the Associated Students of CSU approved a bill jumpstarting renovations to the Lory Student Center. Construction will begin as early as spring 2013. Along with this facelift to the student center comes a $167 student fee that students will shoulder for the next 30 years. ASCSU President Eric Berlinberg talks details about this construction project.
Most of the renovation plan is currently in a conceptual design stage. What does this stage entail and what’s next?
Berlinberg: The design phase of the LSC renovations is extremely time consuming and involves all stakeholders of the facility and activities that take place within. The Master Plan Committee is comprised of 10 subcommittees, and dozens of students, faculty and staff members on campus. Each sub-committee focuses on a specific constituency and area of the re-design. Together, co-chaired by Dr. Mike Ellis and Mohamed Jefri (Chair of the LSC Governing Board), the Master Plan Committee aims at re-designing a facility that is the heart of campus for the next 50 years. As a 50-year-old facility, a lot has changed since then, and we are trying to look into our crystal balls as to what will be the needs of CSU in 2050.
During the design phase, we have been looking at square footage of specific departments and programs in the LSC currently, and their hope to expand into the future. We have also been talking about specific needs in specific areas, and bringing all of that information together to see how it all plays into the larger vision for the building. Additionally, our architects have met with each stakeholder group of the LSC to ensure their needs and wants are being included from the beginning. Soon, we will have a more visual conceptual plan of what the design of the facility will look like that we can share with constituents for feedback and input.
Q: What are some features the renovated LSC will include? As a student, are there any that you are particularly excited for?
B: Sometimes, I wish I was younger (well, most of the time), but partially because I want to be here when the new LSC opens. There are some awesome things on the books for the renovated facility.
There will be more food venues in the food court (both upstairs and downstairs), there will be an expanded ballroom and meeting space upstairs, brand new south entrance facing the library that will tie the brand new Curfman art gallery into the facility, a newly redesigned and expanded Ramskeller, brand new main entrance on the Plaza, co-location of SDPS (Student Diversity Programs and Services) offices, beautiful expanded West Balcony and grand entrance on the west side, new lagoon area on the West Lawn creating an â€˜amphitheaterâ€™ style venue, a multipurpose theater that acts as a ballroom/theater/dining room/performance venue and much, much more.
Q: During the spring of 2013, when some offices will be relocated, what are the methods in deciding what goes where?
B: Dr. Ellis and his staff have committed to ensure that the individual needs of each area are being met during the relocation period. For example, services and offices that students rely on for campus operation will need to be located somewhere central to their current location to ensure students have a successful time on campus. Details will come out as soon as the Board of Governors approves the final two approvals needed to move forward.
Q: What’s achieved by relocating these offices?
B: Most notably, cost. The architects have estimated a significant savings by relocating all offices and employees at once, rather than ‘phasing’ the project into multiple parts (leaving part of the building in normal operation, and another part under construction). Those additional monies can go to the facility, rather than general contractor fees that they charge to phase the project.
Secondary, relocation of current services and departments will allow for a decreased construction schedule by about four to six months. The Master Plan Committee has expressed interest in starting the project in Summer of 2013, and Dr. Mike Ellis has shared with ASCSU that the construction, when not phased and done in one big group, will be done one year earlier. Because of that, he has requested through ASCSU, SFRB (Student Fee Review Board) and the LSC Governing Board, approval to move up when the LSC renovations fee is administered to students. The fee was advertised as not being implemented until the construction is complete, which is now estimated as Fall of 2014.
Q: What role does the CSU Board of Governors play in the relocation plan?
B: The Board of Governors will review the finance plan for the Lory Student Center renovations in December, and the bond issuance approval will not be approved until February. The Master Plan Committee don’t have a relocation plan yet, and we will be working with individual offices on their specific plans to make sure each area’s needs are being met. Additionally, the Board of Governors is a policy-making body, and they donâ€™t deal directly with these sorts of items, since a relocation plan affects a portion of one of the campuses that they oversee.