By Emily Anne Espinosa |Staff Writer|
The SMSU expansion project, “Re-invent,” plans to re-purpose the existing Student Union and also expand the project north of the current building.
“The current SMSU was renovated at a time when the enrollment was 12,000 students and today over 20,000 students are enrolled at CSUSB,” stated SMSU Board Chair, Diana Hernandez Aguilar.
The main purpose behind the expansion is the need to increase space and facilities for students, as enrollment and amount of daily visitors continues to increase each year.
“Last year, our scheduling office turned away 185 event and meeting requests due to lack of space,” stated Aguilar.
In addition to more venue locations and meeting rooms for clubs and organizations, the expansion will create more study spaces, seating, department offices, student centers, job opportunities, as well as more space to accommodate student services and activities.
“If the Student Union expansion happens, it will give more opportunities for our future Yoties to have the campus life they want, need, and deserve,” stated ASI President, Alex Gutierrez.
Additional opportunities would be, “bigger college fairs, nationally recognized conferences, word-class speakers, research summits, and affinity group space,” stated Guttierez.
The project is suspected to cost $88 million, according to Smsu.csusb.edu/expansion/.
In order to fund the project, new fees will be instilled, unless the majority of students express negative feedback for the fee.
The cost will be $143 per quarter, or $8.23 per week, according to site.
Students will not have to pay for the fee until the new facility opens.
Student Union fee will be classified as “Category II” fees by the California State University system, and will be covered by financial aid for eligible students, according to site.
In order to accommodate student input, the expansion underwent alternative consultation, conducted by Student Ambassadors.
Alternative consultation collects feedback from students, faculty, and staff through surveys and reports released about the ongoing process.
To collect additional student feedback, Student Ambassadors from ASI conduct on-campus outreach.
“This allows us to memorialize the student perspective and ensure this project is truly student-oriented,” stated ASI Executive Vice President, Quin Kochman.
More than 5,000 students participated in the alternative consultation process last month.
In the survey, questions were asked relating to restaurant options, entertainment, study spaces, resources, student services, and healthy food options.
Re-Invent, is one concept out of the four that are a part of CSUSB’s Expansion Campus Master Plan.
In addition are other projects such as Recreate (for Health, Wellness, and Recreation), Renew (for Housing and Dining), and Revive (for Athletic Fields).
The SMSU expansion project is currently still undergoing their feasibility study, to assess student needs, assess the current building, and explore options in coordination with the campus master plan, according to Facilities Planning and Management.
As the expansion project is still in their planning stages, the project and proposed ideas are not yet finalized until the data collected during the alternative consultation is processed and reviewed.
“On behalf of the ASI Board of Directors, we are extremely excited to hear and listen to the student perspective on the possibilities of the expansion,” stated Guttierez.