Construction projects throughout the San Diego State campus are continuing this semester, with some completion dates set for the end of this year and the beginning of the spring semester.
A new, $90 million Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences building is on track to open Jan. 17, 2018. The cost of construction also included the demolition of the engineering and industrial technology buildings that previously occupied the site, as well as a parking lot on which ground will be broken after the building’s construction is completed, according to SDSU Director of Planning Laura Shinn.
The university aims to have the new structure certified as a LEED sustainable building, Media Relations Officer Katie White said in an email Oct. 13.
“The LEED certification process involves a number of points that determine the level of sustainability, including water use reduction and efficiency, energy efficiency and recycled materials,” White said in the email. “The EIS is pursuing LEED Gold status and is fulfilling the necessary requirements to receive that certification.”
Should the building achieve LEED certification, it will join a number of other sustainable buildings on campus, including Storm and Nasatir halls, the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union and the Aztec Recreation Center.
EIS will be the home to the university’s first functional MRI brain imaging machine and new teaching and research labs. Some of the new labs will be larger than their predecessors and all of them will include audiovisual components so that students can have a better view of the work their professors are demonstrating.
One of the design features of the EIS building includes transparent walls in the research labs so students can view active research, Shinn said.
“If (students) want to go see research happening, they can actually walk up and see what’s happening in the labs,” Shinn said. “If a student is interested in biomedical research, they can actually go up and see the research going on … it’s really bringing all those people together.”
Tenochca Hall is in the process of having sections of it renovated, including a new program space to be used by residents of Olmeca, Maya and Tenochca Hall, according to the SDSU NewsCenter.
“Our crews worked diligently to update the public spaces and corridors within Tenochca Hall with new flooring and lighting and give the lounge spaces a complete overhaul,” said Robert Schulz, associate vice president of real estate, planning and development, via email. “All of these upgrades will improve the student residential experience and create an environment that fosters learning and a sense of belonging at the university.”
A new student resident hall has been in the early stages of construction site preparation since September. Currently, the soil is being tested and asphalt is being removed from the site that previously was Parking Lot 9, adjacent to Chapultepec residence hall. The dorm should be completed and ready for students to move in by fall 2019, Shinn said.
SDSU has implemented a “Sophomore Success” program, where non-local students will be required to live on campus during both their freshman and sophomore years. The program is planned to be fully implemented by fall 2019. The program will be rolled out early in fall 2018 for current freshmen in the nursing, Honors College and Guardian Scholars programs, as well as international and out-of-state students.
The goal of the sophomore success program is to improve graduation and retention rates, both of which Shinn said are increased when students live on campus longer.
“It gets students focused on academics, it gets them to feel a sense of ‘place,’ that they belong here and this is their community and this all supports their academic endeavors,” Shinn said. “They do better, they have better GPAs, a higher percentage of them stay over for their sophomore year and then graduate, so it improves all of those metrics.
The extra dorm space will add to the number of rooms available to freshmen so that sophomores can occupy the apartment style suites.
More than 20 gender neutral restrooms can be found throughout the campus, including new restrooms in Peterson Gym and the Calpulli Student Health Center. Single-stall restrooms throughout the campus had signage changed to indicate that they are now gender neutral, but no additional construction for those restrooms was required, Shinn said.
“We tried to arrange those in different places on campus where they can be visible and be where people can find them that need to use them,” Shinn said.
New food service retail spaces in the South Campus Plaza are on track to be completed by the end of the fall 2017 semester, Shinn said. The new food vendors will include a Which Wich, Broken Yolk Café and Epic Wings N’ Things, according to the SDSU NewsCenter.