Cal State San Bernardino broke ground for a three-story, 120,000-square-foot expansion of its Santos Manuel Student Union on June 4.
The $90 million expansion, which is set to be completed in September 2021, will be constructed immediately north of the existing student union.
The expansion, which was approved by the California State University Board of Trustees last month, will comprise of a multi-purpose ballroom (which is twice the size of the existing Events Center), an eight-lane bowling alley and game room, a pub, food service and retail space, collaboration spaces for student organizations and student support centers, and a bookstore.
CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales spoke to the more than 200 students, staff, faculty, alumni and visitors in attendance. He began by thanking Aaron Burgess, the executive director and chief financial officer of the Santos Manuel Student Union, who served as the event’s master of ceremonies.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the extraordinary leadership that Aaron Burgess has provided in getting us to today,” Morales said. “He is really the right leader as we develop the home of our students, the Santos Manuel Student Union.”
Morales also welcomed members of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for their support of the university.
“I’m so pleased to welcome guests from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Our campus is located on the Serrano Ancestral territory. The Santos Manuel Student Union is named for a revered leader and hero, the great-great-grandfather of state assembly member and proud alumnus James Ramos,” Morales said. “We are very proud that the Santos Manuel Student Union building, the home of our students, is the largest facility of its kind named for a tribal elder in the entire California State University system.”
Morales recognized Facilities Planning and Management, Student Affairs, the Santos Manuel Student Union administration and board, and a special acknowledgment to the Associated Students, Inc. for their efforts.
“This project simply would not have happened without the extraordinary and visionary leadership of our student leaders,” Morales said. “Our student leaders will not be here because they are graduating and moving on to the next chapters of their lives, but they had a vision for the next generation of students, and this project simply would not have happened without our student leaders.”
“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony is an essential step in the growth of this institution,” Morales said. “Its 120,000-square feet add much needed space for recreation, student support and services, and highly desired meeting and social gathering areas. It even features a ballroom that is twice the size of the existing SMSU Events Center.”
Morales added that the expansion “also serves a vital purpose: To enhance the total college experience for our students by providing a vibrant campus life.”
The project’s architect is LPA Architects in Irvine and the construction contractor is Hathaway Dinwiddie of Los Angeles.
The expansion will have two primary entrances on the first level: the southern entrance nearest to the existing Santos Manuel Student Union and the north entrance accessed from Coyote Walk, the main campus pedestrian spine.
The southern wing of the first level includes a pub with outdoor seating, game room, eight-lane bowling alley, and gathering space. The northern wing will house food vendors, retail space, dining and lounge space, and the relocated bookstore. Access to the northern wing of the building can be restricted, if needed, during late-night hours when the pub and bowling alley remain open.
The second level is highlighted by a conference center with a ballroom dividable into five rooms, featuring a catering kitchen and other event support spaces. The conference center opens to an outdoor plaza for breakout sessions and pre-function events. The double-height ceiling of the second floor creates a mezzanine that will house the building’s mechanical equipment.
The third floor will provide nearly twice the space for administrative offices for Associated Students Inc. (ASI), student organizations and student support centers. They include: The Office of Student Engagement; student club space; cultural centers such as the Women’s Resources Center, Pan African Center, Asian, Pacific Islander Student Success Center, Queer and Transgender Resource Center, LatinX Center, First Peoples Center, The Undocumented Student Center, and The Adult Reentry Center; and additional social and gathering spaces.
Though the new facility will not be physically connected to the existing student union, the project will also renovate the existing union to visually and functionally link the building in a number of ways:
· A plaza will be created between the south entrance of the expansion building and the north entrance of the existing building;
· The existing building’s north entrance will be converted to a glass storefront; and
· 29,000 square feet will be renovated to include a new wellness and counseling center along with various meeting and support spaces.
The groundbreaking is the latest in a number of construction projects that have been completed or are underway on campus. Last September, the university held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of its new on-campus student housing community and dining complex, Coyote Village and Coyote Commons.
This November, the university will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new three-story Center for Global Innovation (CGI) building, the new home to the College of Extended and Global Education, including all international student programs.