Several organizations, facilities and accommodations will be closed or relocated out of the University Union in January as the building undergoes a $53 million renovation project.
The Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) offices and student shop, the mothering room, The Lab, the print shop, the KSSU radio station, Student Engagement and Outreach (SEO) and The State Hornet will be relocated. The Meditation Room and the Games Room will be temporarily shut down and The Buzz and the Wellness Hub will be permanently shut down.
Details on where the the various facilities will be moved are still in flux and are subject to change, according to Bill Olmsted, the associate executive director of Union Well, Inc.
The process of planning relocations was undertaken by Union Well, Inc., the university administration, Space Management, Facilities Management and affected tenants.
“There were a significant number of voices at the table for every meeting throughout this extended process,” Olmsted said. “That said, there was very little available space on campus.”
The expansion project is scheduled to be completed in August 2018 and is intended to reduce future crowding in the Union. Reactions to the closures and planned relocations vary among students.
The Buzz, a restaurant on the north-eastern edge of the Union, will be closing down for the construction and will be replaced by a Starbucks afterward.
“Since its inception, The Buzz has been a very popular addition to the food services choices at the Union, and we are sad to see it go,” Olmsted said in an email. “In the expanded building we are constructing a 2nd and 3rd floor directly above where that space is and there logistically would be no room for the exhaust hoods necessary to run a food operation with multiple grills.”
Olmsted said that the school may bring “functions and amenities” of The Buzz to other parts of campus, but students eating in The Buzz on Monday were upset with the decision.
“I think this place is better than Starbucks, honestly,” Chyna Collins said. “It’s always full in here. People come here all the time.”
Services currently offered in the Wellness Hub will be offered henceforth elsewhere on campus, such as in the WELL.
The Meditation Room — where many Muslims on campus say their salah prayers up to five times a day — is among the rooms being closed for the renovations. When it reopens, the school plans to add an adjacent foot-washing room, as foot-washing traditionally precedes the salah prayers.
Sacramento State Aya Khalifeh said that as a Muslim she is concerned by the closure of the Meditation Room.
“Where am I going to start praying? With all that’s happening, I’m not going to feel comfortable praying in the library,” Khalifeh said. “We have to pray five times a day. I pray three times on campus.”
The Games Room will also be closed, with game tournaments occurring from time to time.
“The loss of both the Games Room and the Meditation Room were unavoidable during this process,” Olmsted said. “We simply have no other place to replicate those functions, which underscores the driving need for the expansion of the building.”
The ASI government office, business office and IT room are being moved to the third floor of Sequoia Hall until the renovation is completed.
“I’m excited for the long-term growth of the Union,” said ASI Board Associate Lisa Dalton. “All the clubs and organizations would love to have more space and that’s of great benefit to the campus.”
Dalton said that ASI has not figured out how to advertise the changed location to the student body, but that there are multiple ideas that will be considered.
“We will be working with student engagement and outreach to do that,” Dalton said. “Definately social media, tabling, doing something else so they’re aware of where we will be located.”
Alex Aguilar, a student worker at the ASI student shop, is concerned that the move will make the ASI student store in the business office less accessible.
“Students see the Union as a place to gather,” Aguilar said. “To move to Sequoia (Hall) is random. It’s not customer-friendly.”
Aguilar said that next semester may be especially rough for foot traffic and space in Sequoia, as students purchasing caps and gowns for graduation will occupy the same space as students attending classes.
The Lab and the print shop will be relocating from the third floor of the Union to the first floor of the campus library.
Rebecca Voorhees, the design, identity and studio manager for Sacramento State, said that she is excited to move to the library because it is more accessible and is excited for the results of the renovation, which will create an office “built for (the print shop’s) purposes.”
However, Voorhees also said that moving over winter break will cause disruption in creating designs and campus posters for the spring 2017 semester.
The Lab has created designs such as the Phlagleblast shirt for the fall 2015 semester and the print shop has created brochures and handouts such as the Hornet Shuttle information booklet and the new student orientation guidebook.
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