SF State’s George and Judy Marcus Hall for the Creative and Liberal Arts was inaugurated Tuesday with a ceremony, after the completion of the building’s construction in early 2021.
The building makes SF State history as the first academic building to be constructed on campus in 25 years, the inaugural celebration was significant to many figures from both the university and the city.
Among those in attendance at the event were Mayor London Breed, SF State President Lynn Mahoney, District 7 Sup. Myrna Melgar, and state Sen. Scott Wiener.The building was named after the two largest donors on campus for scholarships and grants. Such grants include the Marcus Transformative Research Award for the LCA, the Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship, and Marcus Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
“The classrooms, which are going to be used by not just our students who are majoring in BECA, but by others as well. They will be available for all types of classes around campus, and that’s an exciting addition as well,” said Jason Porth, vice president for University Enterprises.
The state-of-the-art building features a wide range of production amenities. Among these, Porth highlighted the multi-story television studios that provide a heightened capacity for equipment.
The facility also features a high-definition broadcast news studio that comes equipped with an anchor desk for commentators to sit in with robotic camera arms. There are also rooms for students to record podcasts and a media presentation room that holds 100 people. It has a video display for high-quality video production, lecture presentations and distance learning.The control rooms have thick doors and glass for acoustic separation. These are also equipped with green screen capability, LED lighting and sound rooms.
For those within the department, such as Melissa Camacho, a BECA graduate coordinator and international advisor, this building signifies a new beginning for the students and her own 20-year career at the university.
“Having good facilities is really helpful,” Camacho said. “One thing BECA students are really good at is problem solving, and where they had to solve a lot of problems was in the old studios because things would fall apart, but I think they weren’t getting the level of preparation that they did because of that.”
“This building marks a new time where, now, our students are going to work with top-of-the-line studios, and I think that’s going to help them along,” Camacho added.
Camacho said there would be additions made to the classes offered in the program previously unavailable due to space and technological limitations.
The original conception of this project dates back to about a decade and had been a topic of planning between SF State and the California State University system. As such, the inauguration ceremony came a couple of days after the start of the project’s three-year construction span according to Porth.
A limited number of students have accessed the building since last spring. which was the initial expected date for construction completion
“It took a little bit longer than expected, and we couldn’t anticipate this but there were delays caused by various things including the fires back in 2018 and 2019,” Porth said. “We had smoky days, and we just didn’t have people working. And then, of course, COVID, when there were restrictions against work.”
Other minor setbacks were unforeseen such as structural conditions on the site that had to be addressed for safety purposes.
Construction was ultimately set in motion in October 2018. While Porth was unable to provide the exact date, one of the major milestones in the project occurred in Spring 2021, when contractors officially handed the building back to the university for physical use.
Dean of LCA, Andrew Harris said this new building was part of the extraordinary experience he sought to provide for students on campus — especially BECA students, who had been working in creative art spaces that had been laid out in the 1950s and ’60s.
“To think about how much BECA has done, how much the students in that program have been able to do with great faculty and over time, aging facilities, it is almost impossible to imagine how incredible the opportunity is now,” Harris said. ”Our students deserve to learn in modern equipped classrooms.”