Construction is currently underway in the central Quad area and is expected to cost a little less than $8 million, according to Danny Kim, vice president of administration and finance at Cal State Fullerton.
The project was launched in order to address fire lane compliance issues caused by the library renovations this past summer, Kim said.
Around $4 million comes from the library renovations budget and around $3.5 million will come from the capital improvement fund, which provides money for campus improvement projects.
“We hired an architect to help us develop a plan on how we can address the entire Quad area about three years ago,” Kim said. “The price on that project came to roughly $11 million and at the time we did not have the funds to move forward with the project so we didn’t proceed with it.”
The improvements made to the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of Pollak Library have converted the building to a high-rise. Fire trucks are required fire-lane access to high-rise buildings for larger ladder trucks.
“Our goal is to complete the construction and open those floors by Aug. 2019,” Kim said. “Without the fire lanes we will not be able to open the buildings. That’s what instigated this project initially.”
The construction has interrupted student life on campus, said Tony Pang, interim director for the office of Student Life and Leadership.
“The central Quad is a centralized location for a lot of programming. It has offset quite a bit but our hope is that after the renovations are complete there will be a lot more opportunities to host programming,” Pang said.
Last year, the space was reserved 93 times for programming space. Forty-four percent of the reservations were made by student organizations, according to the 2017-2018 Central Quad Usage Report conducted by Student Life and Leadership.
Construction has interfered with 36 reservations set for this academic year, Pang said.
Annual programs like Palestinian Mock Apartheid Wall hosted by the Students for Justice in Palestine, and Día de Muertos hosted by Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A) have been affected by the fences in the Quad. The Día de Muertos event had to take place in Becker Amphitheater this year instead of the Quad.
Jessica Ferrer, co-chair of M.E.Ch.A at CSUF, said as an involved student she wasn’t asked for her input on whether the construction should even be done.
“We have to deal with the cards that we’re dealt,” Ferrer said. “As students we’re not always a top priority.”
The Students for Justice in Palestine decided to reschedule the wall for a later date, Pang said.
“Even though a program was always traditionally held in this space maybe we have the opportunity to do it in some place that is a little bit unique. We can help to try and make it work,” Pang said.
The construction will not only establish fire lanes but will also address liability issues, and create more gathering spaces and wheelchair access for students in the Quad, Kim said. He also said there will be an effort to raise funds for the project through a brick campaign.
“Essentially, potential donors can purchase bricks, have a name engraved on it and those will be laid on the pathways,” Kim said.
Ferrer said she feels there are other opportunities the university could invest in to help students, and believes the current emphasis on graduating in four years leaves some students in need.
“I think that’s a really good priority to get us to graduate but what are we graduating with?” Ferrer said. “Lot of students are graduating with post-traumatic stress disorder, with depression, they are food insecure, they are homeless.”
Megan Garcia contributed to this article.