Utilities project part of preparation for new performing arts center

Blocked paths, exposed pipes, and ditches have been inconveniencing many students who walk between the Humanities building and the Village at Centennial Square.

However, all of the holes and incessant drilling are part of a bigger project: the campus utilities extension project located between the Humanities building and Burk Hall.

According to SF State campus planner Wendy Bloom, the project will extend campus utilities and relocate a sewer and storm drain line in preparation for the construction of the Mashouf Performing Arts Center.

In light of ever-increasing student fees and the dire financial situation currently affecting SF State and the California State University system, students will not have to foot the bill for the $4.5 million project.

“No student fees were or will be used for this project with state funding provided through capital outlay bonds pending voter approval,” Bloom said. “This project will be funded through a combination of state and 20 percent donor funding.”

The same conditions will apply for the funding of the Mashouf Center, which is set to cost around $260 million.

No construction date has been confirmed for the new Performing Arts Center, which will be located at the intersection of Lake Merced and Font Boulevards.

The utilities project and new performing arts center are just a few of the many segments of SF State’s multi-year, two-phase master plan in which the University aims to improve the sustainability of campus infrastructure and prepare the University for a 25 percent increase of enrolled full-time students by 2020.

Approved by the California State University Board of Trustees in Nov. 2007 and expected to continue into the next decade, the master plan was devised in hopes of SF State’s ultimate goal in becoming “the nation’s preeminent public, urban university,” according to the SF State Strategic Plan.

As SF State prepares to accommodate up to 25,000 full-time students over the next decade, 2010 and 2011 have ushered in the next phase of the master plan, the Campus Utilities Extension Project, where noticeable potholes and blocked paths surrounding the Humanities building have been a common sight.

Nevertheless, everything has gone according to schedule.

“The project is 70 percent complete with a target completion date in June,” Bloom said.

Despite the utilities project plan to be completed on time and with minimal impact, some students who need to get to the Humanities building quickly believe it should have been done sooner.

“These improvements are good, but they should have planned them better,” said Max Pete, 21, a communications major. “It’s kind of weird that they didn’t do all of this during the winter break, when no one was here.”

While the campus utilities project commenced in November, it was not until February that the path connecting the north entrance of the Humanities building and the residence halls was blocked off and work began, forcing students and faculty to take alternate routes.

Others see the improvement and long-term goals of the master plan – and the new Creative Arts building – as beneficial to the school, even if it causes delays and makes a portion of the school less visually appealing.

“I really don’t mind it too much,” said Caroline Mooney, 18, an environmental studies major who lives on campus and has classes in the Humanities building and the current Creative Arts building. “It takes a little longer for me to get to class, but it’s good to see our campus will look better in the end because of what’s happening.”

In preparation for the master plan, other construction projects include the installation of a fuel cell complex near the gym and the seismic upgrade of the parking garage. Both will begin later this year.

Latest comment
  • a) $$$$ came from the SFSU-FOUNDATION now U.Corp (see older issues of the XPRESS) where the funds were meant for EDUCATION, now its being used for “DEVELOPMENT”….

    b) the land was siphoned off by a backroom deal between Parkmerced’s prior owners and head manager, and the university without informing tenants of the loss of there community building and open-space.

    c) the university as usual left the site to rot for many years, since its purchase only maintaining the softball field due to title 9 pressures.

    d) Wendy Bloom used to work for WRT and switched to capital planning dept. (a nice lucrative position at SFSU) along with many other capital planning positions held by other city planners and architects at SFSU. (find out the cost of these positions and who pays for them?)

    e) the EIR for SFSU did NOT include the site and its proposed build-out. The EIR ignores cummalative impacts and thus this project should undergo a project specific EIR in terms of the impacts the pipeline work and the future project have on Parkmerced as a masterplanned community and historical eligible site. This has to date been ignored by SFSU-CSU as they are an 800 pound gorilla, and are difficult to challenge in court.

    f) the students will pay the price, they are just being comforted that the funding is coming from other sources….. Where did all the funding come from before, and how can you ascertain where your funds are going now…….