SF State: Construction on hold
January 28, 2009 8:17 PM
The CSU System has suspended construction of the J. Paul Leonard Library, as well as an upgrade to the campus' communication infrastructure, in response to the state's budget cuts.
"The state faces a staggering budget shortfall between now and the end of 2009-10 of almost $42 billion unless the governor and the legislature take rapid corrective action," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed in a memo to employees.
The state has temporarily frozen $600 million in bonds that are used to finance state-funded design and construction projects on all 23 CSU campuses.
"At this point, we do not have any information on when the work suspension will come to an end, but we are hoping it will be very soon." said Simon Lam, associate vice president of the university's planning department, in an email.
The library project, previously estimated to take a little over three years to complete, will cost an estimated $1.75 million a month and the university has already spent $11 million of the $116 million- project's budget.
The freeze does not save the CSU any money, Lam stated.
"The suspension of work will end up costing more money, since there will be additional costs associated with closing down and restarting the projects," Lam said
However, according to Reed, the state has no funds available to pay contractors.
According to the website of Barnhart, Inc, the contract's value as of January 9 was $96 million. Barnhart, Inc. is contracted to build the library.
Deborah Masters, a university librarian, is unconcerned with the project's suspension, stating that she and her staff are prepared to bring the same services to students for the coming years.
Because the same resources are still available and access to the book stacks will not be available to students after the project's completion, much remains the same.
"In some respects, it doesn't make any difference to the user," Masters said. "While the building itself is no longer open to students, all the services are still available and we want to help."
Rest assured, all of the books are still in the original library. After the western wing of the library is completed all the books will move into the library retrieval system on the first two floors and work will begin on the original building.
In the mean time, the 24-hour study rooms have been moved to Library Annex 1 on North State Drive. The annex allows for 145 more computers and 230 more seats for students to study in, Masters explains.
"Students can go to the annex and not likely encounter long lines for a computer," she said. "We were pleased and delighted by how the students began to use the annex."
The Technology Infrastructure System project was in its final stages. This portion of the project involved installing wiring, electricity outlets and a telecommunication conveyance system in the Gymnasium, Thornton Hall, the Science, Administration and Fine Arts buildings, followed by HSS and Creative Arts. The Gymnasium and Thornton Hall are finished, but work is only partially complete in Science, Administration and Fine Arts.
When complete, the newer system will allow data and phone calls transmit at higher speeds.
"The unfinished work on the TIS project will have no noticeable effect, since building occupants will continue to use the telecommunications infrastructure in place," Lam said.
The monthly cost for the communications project is estimated at $900,000 and with about $5.3 million of the $9,308,000 project budget spent, according to Lam.
"The work suspension is unfortunate and unprecedented. We are doing everything we can to minimize the disruption and hope that we can resume work as quickly as possible," said Lam.
Also in response to the budget, the CSU system has set limits to the number of students admitted in fall 2009, created travel restrictions for employees, implemented a salary freeze for all vice president- level positions and above, placed a hiring freeze on all jobs not important to operating of the university and cancelled all non-critical equipment and supply orders.
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