On the move

Sarah Gilbert / The Collegian
After delays, Henry Madden Library nearly ready for offices across campus to make move

The Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning has moved from the now demolished San Ramon portables, to the portables in front of the Science I building and then into Science I.

The Richter Center will be packing up and moving again, but university officials aren’t sure when.

The Richter Center is just one of many offices and departments across campus that are in limbo waiting for instruction on when their office move will take place.

“We can get all upset about it, but it doesn’t really matter,” said Chris Fiorentino, the director of the Richter Center. “We’re operating at 100 percent and we’ll be happy when the move does happen.”

The approximately six-month delay in campus projects and office moves can be traced back to the state budget crisis that caused changes in the Henry Madden Library’s timeline.

In December of last year, the state’s Pooled Money Investment Board voted to cut off funds for highway, school and infrastructure projects, including California State University’s (CSU) state-funded projects.
All CSU state-financed design and construction contracts were suspended until funding could be re-established.

The projects put on hold included the $8 million worth of library furnishings. The university wasn’t even sure if it could pay the library contractor, Swinerton Builders, and their workers.

Because of the state budget crisis, the library’s opening was pushed back from January to February.

That one-month delay has had a domino effect on plans for the rest of the campus.

For example, all administrative offices in the Thomas Administration building have not yet been moved into the Harold H. Haak Administrative Center on the fourth floor because there are no funds to furnish the floor.

The university’s Year of the Move, which started in September 2008 and was supposed to end in September 2009, called for various student service offices to then move into the Thomas Administration building once it was cleared out and renovated.

However, administrative offices are still in the Thomas Administration building, and student services such as the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) are still waiting for word on when they will move.

“I was never officially told about the delay,” said Ofelia Gamez, the director of CAMP.

“The information isn’t trickling down and that’s really frustrating for a lot of programs.”

According to Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Robert Boyd, the university has been waiting on a clear answer or date from the state about when funding would be re-established.

“The state has given us preliminary notices and each week it changes,” Boyd said.

“But we found out this week that the money is starting to flow out of Sacramento.”

A clear example of this was on May 1, when students received an e-mail stating that reading tables would be installed in the library in the coming weeks.

According to Tom Gaffery, the administrative project coordinator for the Thomas Administration building and the Haak Center move, the move of administrative offices into the now empty fourth floor of the library will begin on June 2.

“Although the delay was disappointing, I think everyone in the building is excited for the eventual move and getting settled in our new space,” Gaffery said.

“I am personally excited to see the completion of the process.”

The process, however, is just beginning for others on campus such as Boyd and Kathy Washington, the associate director of planning and administration within the Facilities Management department.
The freeze on funding not only delayed the opening of the library and the move of many offices, but also other planned minor and major capital outlay projects.

These include renovating the nursing lab, renovating McLane Hall, modifying restrooms to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines and updating the heating and air in the Conley Art building, the Agriculture Sciences building and the Grosse Industrial Technology building.

For all of the university’s planned projects, Washington will work with the CSU system’s Capital Planning, Design and Construction office on the re-appropriation process.

“We’re in that, ‘where do we go next?’ phase,” Boyd said. “Where are we with design, construction, man power, timelines, changes in plans?”

While the money will be available, the challenge, according to Boyd, is that all levels of state schools are also getting money for their own delayed projects.

Across the state, projects will be starting up again as soon as possible, meaning many will be fighting over contractors and workers, which could result in even more delays.

“We would have been completely moved into the library, we would have had all the furniture in place, we would have been close to the middle of the basic remodel of Thomas,” Boyd said, listing off what the campus might have looked like if there were no delays.

“Now we’ll just pick up the pieces and start up again.”

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