Sac State of THE FUTURE

By Cody Drabble

Sacramento State University will get a long-overdue facelift over the next decade, thanks to a new composite plan laying out the future of the 300-acre campus.

The first-ever master plan will provide a road map for managing and accommodating campus growth over the next 10 to 15 years, headed by Richard W. Thompson, director of urban design and planning for the architectural firm AC Martin Partners.

Thompson’s firm has assisted in the creation of master plans for more than 25 higher-education campuses, including University of Southern California; Azusa Pacific University; and CSU Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton and Northridge.

Sac State faces several challenges before any shovels can break ground on more than a dozen proposed buildings. During a campus forum attended by students and faculty, Thompson explained that mounting congestion, parking and housing issues will require creative solutions. “Every campus is different, and one of the main issues here is the fact that you’re [bound] by the river, the railroad and the freeway,” he said.

Since most of the CSU campuses, Sac State included, were originally designed as commuter campuses, converting the space into a 24-seven hub of activity is not simple. A new above-ground parking structure can cost from $15,000 to $20,000 per parking space. And the university has utilized all of its housing capacity only once in the last decade, despite plans to add 3,000 beds for faculty and students. Third, local transit agencies have built as close to the campus as possible, which means the university will have to provide a shuttle service to the light-rail station.

Among several anticipated priorities are a new event-center space, bioswales for stormwater management, green roofs, solar panels to shade parking structures and a new transit center. Once a consensus master plan is completed in early 2014, students can expect revenue-generating parking and housing structures to go up first, while new academic buildings will lag, depending on the availability of state funding.

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