CSUF to acquire new property

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Photo by William Camargo/ Daily Titan

Students may or may not be aware of the Western State University College of Law property on north State College Boulevard located across the street from Cal State Fullerton. The building faces the west side of the CSUF campus and is located next to Troy High School.

Even more students might be unaware that this building could become the property of CSUF as early as this October after the CSU Board of Trustees approved the funds to purchase the college at the Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 19.

The approved purchase would cover the entire 86,000-square-foot property and has a reported purchase price of $18,250,000.

Director of Media Relations and New Media for CSU Chancellor’s Office, Mike Uhlenkamp, said that the majority of the money being used to purchase the Western State University property is coming from a mixture of the CSU systemwide revenue bond program and CSUF’s extended education program.

Uhlenkamp explained that the purpose of the CSU systemwide revenue bond program is meant to “refinance the acquisition, construction, renovation and improvement of certain facilities of the Cal State University.”

“The purchase of the property is $18,250,000,” said Uhlenkamp. “Of that amount, $5,000,000 will be contributed by Fullerton’s University extended education. The remaining $13,250,000 will be financed through the bond program.”

Even though CSUF will own the property, both students and faculty will not be able to use the facilities for another three years.

For the next three years, the college will occupy the building, but it will pay rent for the space until CSUF makes the site part of the campus. The rent will offset some of the purchase price over time.

Christopher Bugbee, director of media relations for CSUF, said the process is similar to the purchase and use of the College Park building. This would mean that classes would continue as usual for Western State University students and faculty.

“The debt will be paid with rental income, initially from Western State College of Law for its continued occupancy through the first three years,” said Bugbee. “In year four and following, the university will rent space as needed, similar to the current arrangement for university use of the College Park building, purchased in 2000.”

As far as Cal State Fullerton’s future plans for the Western State University property is concerned, said Chief Financial Officer Bill Barrett. Occupation of the building would be decided at a later time.

The property could house any department on campus, but a final agreement will be made in the future, based on the needs of that department, Barrett said.

“I guess you would call it a collaborative effort on campus to determine what’s the best fit, whether its student services or part of a college or all of a college or whatever would go over there,” said Barrett. “The good news is: We should own it soon, so we have some options in front of us.”

Barrett said that even with three years between renting the property and occupying the property, CSUF will form a committee within the next two years to decide the use of the building. After the initial two years of committee planning, Cal State Fullerton will be able to reach a decision as to what will occupy the Western State University property.

Barrett added that the Western State University property has been considered for purchase by CSUF for five or six years, but reconsideration by the property owners stalled the original sale.

After a false start, the current owners have finally decided to sell the property after CSUF investigated and approved the property integrity for future use.

“There are very stringent requirements by the CSU for what they call due diligence in terms of the structural integrity of the building—its seismic status,” Barrett said. “We went through a significant due diligence, as it’s called in the real estate world, before we made a formal offer to the current owners to buy it. That’s all been done.”

Even after inspecting the building, Barrett said that there would still likely be renovations done to the property, which will include seismic work to ensure safety toward future earthquakes and structural stability.

The addition of the Western State University College of Law building will not only add a new building to CSUF, it will also include classrooms, a library and an additional parking lot with about 300 parking spaces for students and faculty.

“There’s no other land around (CSUF)—we need space,” said President Mildred Garcia about the acquisition.

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