Troy Pope’s opinion column on Sept. 16 about having to “endure” the inconvenience of construction activities is an understandable reaction to the inconvenience the electrical infrastructure project has created for our campus community.
However, this is a critically important project in order to sustain the operation of our campus by providing 24/7 reliable electrical service and to accommodate future growth and development.
Improved infrastructure will help us prevent more of the unexpected power outages we have had in recent years – the most egregious being a 72-hour outage in January 2013 – that were all tied to our old equipment.
This $30 million infrastructure project was funded by the California State University.
Student tuition and fees are not used for construction projects. The project is making an important investment in replacing in our antiquated (approximately 60 years old) underground and building infrastructure by replacing cable, transformers and upgrading the overall electrical capacity for our campus.
Unfortunately, this size of this project means it could not be completed over the summer months, but we did get extensive work done along Barstow Avenue last summer in order to minimize traffic impacts.
This is a big project that requires work to be occurring throughout the entire campus and, yes, work is expected to take approximately 15 months to complete (it started in spring 2015).
Unlike freeway projects in which construction can happen in the evening hours, the work on our project must be done during the day.
And, unfortunately, infrastructure work of any type is never convenient. By its nature, it comes with noise, dust and rerouting of pedestrians and vehicles.
We understand these are pain points for everyone.
However, please know our team is doing everything it can to minimize the disruption and inconvenience for our students, faculty and staff.
With progress, comes inconvenience. That’s just a fact of life. But this project is desperately needed and we had no other alternative in order to ensure that our academic buildings and classrooms can continue to support Fresno State’s instructional needs..
The good news is that once we have completed this project, we can turn our attention to restoring, roads, parking lots and sidewalks, which will be welcome improvements for our entire campus.
Regarding campus parking, we are moving forward aggressively with positive changes.
We are doing this by reducing the number of reserved spaces under the solar panels, thus creating approximately 100 more spaces for students.
We are also exploring the feasibility of implementing a shuttle service from Campus Pointe to the west side of campus by spring 2016.
In addition a proposal is forthcoming to allow students to access faculty/staff parking areas earlier in the day.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience involved in campus construction, but we know our entire Fresno State community will benefit from this significant investment.