Fresno State branding is not yet hung. Furniture layout is not yet finalized. The smell of new paint is in the air.
The Resnick Student Union (RSU) is not yet finished, but it is getting close.
“There are still construction contractors in the building. So, you will see the elevators have cardboard [in] them and things like that, just because there is still construction happening,” said Amy Allen, interim associate dean for student involvement.
The RSU, which was previously planned to open fall 2021, faced a number of delays due to the need for state fire marshal approval, along with supply chain disruptions, which postponed its completion until fall 2022.
The Collegian toured the RSU on Sept. 8 to give students a glimpse into the new student union and the upcoming plans for its eventual opening.
A tentative soft opening date is planned for Sept. 22. However, Allen said the date is subject to change based on the approval of the state fire marshal.
During the soft opening, there will be events highlighting the programs and services that will be available in the RSU lounge spaces, according to Allen.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for October, but Allen said a larger grand opening will be planned for a later date.
“But as far as [the] grand opening, I think we’re going to wait for the dining options to arrive. Then we’ll do something much bigger,” she said.
Media access of the RSU is limited while construction is ongoing, and The Collegian was prohibited from taking photos of the interior of the RSU as university branding was not yet completed within its interior, according to Allen.
Still, tours have occurred throughout the summer for some groups as construction progressed, and photos of the interior can be found on social media.
There will also be adjustments made to student fees.
“[The] fall 2022 fee will be pro-rated (reduced) based upon a soft opening of Sept. 22 and the fall 2022 fee will not be assessed until spring 2023. The spring 2023 fee amount will be $149 plus the final pro-rated fee for fall 2022,” Allen said.
The University Student Union (USU) Board of Directors helped finalize many aspects of the RSU, according to Allen. The board functions as an advisory board for facilities managed by Student Involvement, and help facilitate events, activities and other student involvement functions.
Three food options are planned to be located on the first floor of the RSU: Taco Bell, The Habit Burger Grill and a “soup and salad concept” run through University Dining Services, Allen said.
A cafe area lounge space is located near the north entrance of the RSU, which will feature a permanent vendor set to be finalized by University Dining Services, according to Allen.
Currently, a coffee cart is located in the front entrance.
“That will be open when we open [to students], so they’re pretty much ready to go,” she said.
Student lounge space
The RSU houses the main lounge near its north entrance, with what Allen called a “grand staircase” featuring extensive amounts of seating areas with outlets and USB charging ports.
A drop-down screen alongside a projector is also located in front of the staircase, which Allen said can be used to host events such as movie nights, poetry slams or televised Fresno State Athletics games. Currently, a “Mean Girls” movie night is planned for Oct. 3 by Spotlight Events in the RSU.
Seating areas will also be available for student use on the second floor, many of which also have outlets and USB charging ports.
Currently, the furniture is not yet officially laid out, as Allen said the university is awaiting fire marshal approval before finalizing its placement.
“We have to leave it as is right now for the fire marshal, and then once they give approval, we’re going to kind of move stuff around,” she said.
The RSU also features terrace seating for student use, which Allen said will likely be “a popular space once the weather cools.”
Allen said she also has ideas for potential special events, DJs and musicians to perform on the terrace itself.
The USU Welcome Desk is now available in the welcome center on the first floor. Students can visit the center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Located on the east side exterior of the RSU and beside the Speech Arts Building is the Peters Family Foundation Event Plaza, featuring grass seating areas and a large plaza in the area where the previous Fresno State Amphitheater once stood, according to Allen.
“I’ve been here [for] 30 years. When I was an undergrad, we actually did air guitar, and we had a lot of concerts in the Fresno State Amphitheater… So I want to pay tribute to that,” she said.
Allen said Student Involvement hopes to host events and performances at the outdoor event plaza.
Additionally, all-gender restrooms are located on the second floor, and an additional lactation room is available.
Meeting and event space
The first floor features three multipurpose rooms with room for approximately 208 individuals each to host events and conferences. The partitions between these rooms can be expanded to accommodate about 1,200 individuals, according to Allen.
“The Satellite Student Union has a maximum of 800, theater style. Once you go beyond that, you’re going to the Save Mart Center. There’s nothing in between. So this will really help our campus a lot,” she said.
Additionally, 11 new conference rooms will be available for campus clubs and student organizations in the RSU, which Allen said have “nice audio-visual capabilities with projectors” alongside assistive listening systems.
One of the largest rooms, Room 207, will house Associated Students Inc. (ASI) meetings and USU Board meetings.
ASI’s new offices, Student Involvement offices and a new “Student Leaders’ Space” will also be located in the RSU.
The Wonderful Company will also have an office space in the RSU where it will run its student scholar program.