Construction begins on new west plaza vendors stalls
Renovated and new eateries to come
November 7, 2006 11:44 AM
After seven years of delays and complications, construction began Monday on new vendor stalls in the Cesar Chavez Student Center’s West Plaza, however other major projects still sit on the shelf.
More than $2 million worth of construction projects sit idle, according to an April 20 Master Plan committee project timeline.
The West Plaza project, which will add a new food vendor on campus, was frozen for years because of funding issues. What was originally a less than $400,000 project has turned into an $869,000 undertaking because of an unfavorable construction market, said Guy Dalpe, managing director of the student center.
“Prices continued to escalate pretty dramatically,” he said.
In 2003, the project was estimated at $650,000 before the student center was encouraged by the Americans with Disabilities Act to reduce gaps between the concrete slabs in the plaza, Dalpe said.
Eventually, the owners of Bark ‘N’ Bun and Carmelina La Petite, now located on the south side of the building, agreed to undertake financial responsibility of the project. Their rent will be adjusted accordingly as reimbursement.
The West Plaza is not the only project that is years behind schedule.
Cheers erupted from the Student Center Governing Board on Nov. 2, when Dalpe announced that, in December, bidding would begin for a soul food restaurant to be built in the lower conference level between the Depot and the Pub.
Eight years ago, a campus survey showed that students wanted a southern-style soul food restaurant, and the Student Center Governing Board made a commitment to building it, but the project has yet to see a single day of construction.
An independent analyst deemed the original exhaust system for the restaurant insufficient, Dalpe said, and a new, roughly 20-foot-tall exhaust had to be designed.
One initial project became two separate undertakings: the restaurant itself and the exhaust system, which will exit the building through what is now a grassy area on the south side of the student center.
Some student board members pin the delays on their administrative counterparts.
“Everything is approved by the board, but the urgency of our management is what is holding us back,” said Mirishae McDonald, chair of the master plan committee.
The board is a mix of students with maximum two-year terms, and administrators, some of whom have been working in the building for years, like Dalpe who has been with the student center since 1991.
A number of students on the board said that administrators and staff undermine their power.
After the board approves something, it goes back to the staff for implementation. If the staff does not approve of the project they find excuses, said Maria Liliana Cortez, chair of the Student Center Governing Board.
Cortez’s personal project – a computer lab proposed for the student center’s top level – has also made little headway.
“I call it my baby,” Cortez said. “But it has taken me two years to even get a budget approved.”
The computer lab is still in the design phase, but before anything can be done, leaks in the proposed lab must be fixed, Dalpe said.
Attempts were made to fix the leak about six years ago, but the problem has persisted.
“There is a leaking problem, but why is it taking five years to fix?” Cortez said.
Term limits lead to impatience among student board members, Dalpe said.
“For them, it’s like everything has to be done today. If it’s not done today, it’s taking too long,” he said.
Dalpe attributes the delays to the complications that come with any major campus project, including library renovations, which have waited for almost eight years.
“When you start to get to projects of that size, like design changes to the building, the university has comments and it gets the attention of the student body, and with all those players around the table it takes time,” he said.
While projects wait to begin, the allocated funds sit untouched.
The CSU Chancellor’s Office holds the funds in a conservative account until the project begins, said Student Center Budget Analyst Gurinder Singh.
“If one project is not completed on time, it does not mean it will not be completed,” Singh said. “Those funds remain dedicated to the project.”
Although a number of projects remain idle, Dalpe said that delayed projects should not overshadow the improvements that have been done to the building over the years.
“Students do not have a history of the changes to the building,” Dalpe said, pointing out that renovations have been made to all the dining areas including Café 101, the Gold Coast Grill, and the entire lower level. “Students do not realize there has been this great amount of improvement over the years.”
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University