More than 150 Cal State San Bernardino students, staff and faculty on March 2 celebrated the placement of the highest beam of the three-story, 120,000-square-foot, $90 million expansion of the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union.
University President Tomás D. Morales, now in his eighth year in leading the university, called the expansion an essential step in the growth of CSUSB, but added it is the progress that makes the topping off event “so exciting.”
“This building will expand upon the growth opportunities we afford our students. It will offer increased resources where they can ask questions, search for solutions, and share their joys and anxieties with classmates and experienced professionals,” Morales said. “It is a place where numerous and varied discussions will happen. Where friendships will be established. Where customs, beliefs and values will be shared and appreciated.
“This building, in conjunction with the existing union, will be the heart of a vibrant, engaged campus life, strengthening the Coyote spirit within all those who step inside it,” Morales said.
The expansion is set for completion in September 2021 and will comprise of a multi-purpose ballroom, which is twice the size of the existing SMSU Events Center, an eight-lane bowling alley and game room, a pub, food service and retail space, collaborative spaces for student organizations and support centers, and a bookstore.
To conclude the event, Morales led students, staff and faculty in signing their names on the girder before it was lifted into place as part of the topping off ceremony, a tradition that dates to medieval Europe, where ironworkers would celebrate placing the final beam of a building, often placing a fir tree atop the beam.