Major Sac State construction projects total over $206 million

Expansions and additions come to campus at a high price tag


Rudy Obstaculo - The State Hornet

Crews work on the the University Union expansion and Science II construction projects at Sacramento State on Friday, Nov. 30. Construction costs on campus have been up and coming for the past two years.

Luis Platero

Sacramento State has been under construction since 2017, adding five new buildings that have cost the university roughly $206 million.

The projects include the new Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, the University Union expansion and renovation, Parking Structure V with the accompanying Welcome Center and a new student housing complex.

The Tschannen Science Complex began its construction in the fall of 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by fall 2019. Taking space next to the Hornet Bookstore, the complex will include features such as a planetarium and observatory.

The project has cost approximately $91.5 million, according to a 2017 news release from the university. Victor Takahashi, director of facilities planning and construction services, confirmed the cost listed in the news release and that the majority of that cost — $71 million — is being funded by the California State University Chancellor’s office.

Sac State is responsible for funding the remaining $20.5 million, which the news release said the university planned to do through donations and campus reserves. The University aimed to raise extra money through donations from private donors, with opportunities available such as naming rights.

Last February, Ernest E. Tschannen donated $9 million to the project, the largest private donation the university has ever received.

RELATED: Donor provides Sac State with $9 Million to be used for Science II

Although Sac State has committed funding, which will come from campus reserves, the University continues to search for private donor funding with further naming rights on a variety of features,

Another construction project to take place at Sac State is the expansion of the University Union.

The University Union expansion project broke ground in the 2017 spring semester and is adding space to the existing Union, building more room for new additions including a new Starbucks, more lounge area, Peak Adventures retail, more bathrooms and a foot-washing station for ritual prayers.

The entirety of the Union expansion has cost approximately $53.1 million, according to the 2017 news release. The funds for the project are produced from student fees — the Union/WELL mandatory campus fee — and Union WELL Inc. reserves.

According to the expansion FAQ on the Union WELL Inc. website, a $99 semesterly increase to the Union/WELL mandatory campus fee, meant to further support the expansion, was approved in 2015, as well as another $30 increase when construction began.

The fee increase for the expansion was part of an alternative consultation conducted by Union WELL Inc. and the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC) during the 2013 to 2014 academic year, according to the website.

However, it also included a fee increase for an event center building. After the event center was separated and eventually rejected following a student referendum, former President Alexander Gonzalez approved the fee increase for the expansion.

The expansion project isn’t the only construction happening to the Union, according to Takahashi.

“A separate project was developed for the existing University Union building in order to bring it up to current code,” Takahashi said in an email. “This involves installing fire sprinklers and fire alarms.”

The project to bring the building up to code is worth approximately $8.6 million. Takahashi also said that there is another roof replacement project underway, which has cost $500,000 along with a ballroom upgrade project, which has cost $600,000.

These projects are also funded through Union WELL Inc. reserves and the Union/WELL student fee, according to Takahashi. Together, the total cost for all Union construction projects is over $62 million.

Construction projects on the north side of campus include Parking Structure V and the Welcome Center.

The university broke ground on the Parking Structure V project during spring 2017. After a semester-long delay, the parking structure was completed last May.

Similar to the Science Complex and Union expansion projects, Parking Structure V came at a large cost of $42 million, according to a 2017 news release. A Welcome Center is being built next to the structure and is expected to be open in fall 2019.

Takahashi said the Welcome Center will serve as a hub for Sac State Outreach and UTAPS offices and will cost $9.7 million, raised by parking revenue through UTAPS and funding from the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

New on-campus housing is also on the agenda of Sac State construction projects. According to a recent University press release, construction for a new student housing complex, which is temporarily called South Campus Housing, is set to begin in May 2019 and is said to be completed before fall 2021.

The complex will be built on what was previously known as the Dan McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks, the 11.5-acre land parcel purchased by UEI for $2.3 million in June 2015. Sac State also leased 1.5 acres of campus-owned property to UEI in order to create 546 more on-site parking spaces, according to the recent press release.

The construction, operation, financing and management of the $164 million project will be covered by Greystar, a rental housing company, through a partnership with Sac State and UEI.

Greystar will share the $9 million construction costs with UEI to replace the original ballpark. Greystar will reimburse UEI $5.7 million, including the cost of the land and other transaction costs UEI had previously paid for, according to the press release.

Graphic by Claire Morgan with photos by Will Coburn and additional reporting by Matthew Peirson.