To successfully meet our mission and effectively serve our students and our community, CSU Dominguez Hills must find additional mechanisms to provide the high-quality physical learning environment necessary to educate our students and ensure CSUDH graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to compete and succeed in their chosen fields.
Academic buildings are critical to providing the foundational programs identified in the 1963 statewide master plan for higher education, including the sciences, business administration, education, and liberal arts. However, at CSU Dominguez Hills such buildings are more than 40 years old. Since 2009, CSU Dominguez Hills has received no new state-funded buildings. In addition, none of the temporary buildings from the 1960s have been replaced and over the last 25 years only two new state-funded buildings, Welch Hall and the Library addition, have been added to the campus. Foundational programs essential to high-quality academic instruction primarily reside in buildings constructed between 1963 and 1977 or in temporary buildings purchased by the campus.
As I have said in the past, CSU Dominguez Hills is fortunate to have undeveloped land that we can utilize strategically to advance our academic mission. By leveraging these unique land assets, the university can generate additional revenue that can assist in financing and renovating academic buildings and support other academic instructional needs.
As we move ahead, fulfilling our academic mission continues to guide our efforts and our decision making. In order to most effectively achieve our mission and fulfill our commitment to our students, we must provide access to a high-quality learning environment.
In 2009, the university completed a Facilities Master Plan (www4.csudh.edu/Assets/CSUDH-Sites/FPCM/docs/campus-master-plan/CSUDH_MasterPlan_2010.pdf) designed to map out a trajectory for growth and change that would enhance the physical campus and support the university in providing high-quality education to a larger student body.
The plan provides a framework for development of the physical campus and serves as a guide for land and building development that includes the campus building and facility enhancements described in this Presidential Update.
“The physical campus is a potent instrument and powerful ally of the educational process. The physical campus provides the setting for formal learning experiences and for the informal encounters between students, faculty, staff and visitors that are the hallmark of the university experience.”
2009 CSU Dominguez Hills
Facilities Master Plan
I am extremely pleased to announce that a new Center for Science and Innovation building was approved for CSU Dominguez Hills by the CSU Board of Trustees (BOT) at their November meeting. During the last 12-to-18 months, a number of CSU Trustees, the Chancellor, and new Executive Vice Chancellors have toured CSU Dominguez Hills, including visiting the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) building. Based on discussions during and subsequent to these tours, CSU leadership developed a clearer sense of the importance of a new science facility for CSU Dominguez Hills.
Planning and design of the 87,000 gross square-foot building will now begin in earnest and will take approximately 15 months. We have selected Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA) as project architects.
Groundbreaking for the new building, which will be located immediately to the south of the existing NSM building, will occur in late spring of 2017, with construction to be completed in summer 2019, in time for fall semester occupancy.
When complete, the new building will be a modern instructional facility, providing state-of-the-art science labs and classrooms supporting innovations in science and math education and faculty research. Science labs and lab support currently housed in the existing NSM building will be relocated in the new building, which also will house new active learning classrooms, faculty research labs, and common gathering space designed to foster collaboration and increase faculty and student interaction.
Realization of the anticipated approval of a new Center for Science and Innovation building by the trustees was made possible thanks to the efforts of numerous individuals and groups, including members of a Science Building Feasibility Steering Committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students, including co-chairs Dr. Rod Hay, Dean of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, and Mr. Jonathan Scheffler, Director of Facilities Services, who worked with an architectural and engineering firm to engage faculty and staff and complete an initial feasibility study required by the Chancellor's Office. Additional input and involvement by faculty, staff, and students will continue throughout the planning, design and construction of the building.
As previously indicated, science labs and lab support currently housed in the existing NSM building will be relocated to the new building when this building is complete. Once this occurs and the current NSM building is vacant, renovation of the existing NSM building will occur. This renovation will include removal of existing fume hoods and other specialized lab equipment and infrastructure and retrofitting of existing labs and classrooms spaces to provide modern classrooms and instructional space. Upgrades are likely to include expansion of existing spaces to provide additional open space for student group activities and installation of dry labs.
In order to best position the university to leverage our unique land assets and generate additional revenue that can assist in financing and renovating academic buildings and support other academic instructional needs, the university recently partnered with AEG (operator of sports and entertainment venues around the world, including the StubHub Center on land leased from the university) and the City of Carson to engage the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI is comprised of accomplished developers, real estate specialists, economic development consultants, architects, academics and other land-use professionals to assess and provide expert, independent, timely, and unbiased input on university land development plans and opportunities via an approach referred to as a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP).
After touring our campus and receiving extensive input and background from the university, the City of Carson, and AEG, the TAP concluded our “land-rich” university offers an incredible breadth of transformative revenue-generating and development opportunities, including the following:
The TAP report also detailed how the currently undeveloped 348 acres of university land could be knitted together to form a more cohesive and vibrant campus for students, faculty, staff, residents, and visitors alike.
While the TAP report confirms the unique resources available to transform our campus at our disposal, our ability to do so requires that we work in partnership with others to fully realize the opportunities presented.
The TAP report is posted online at www4.csudh.edu/Assets/CSUDH-Sites/FPCM/docs/ULI-TAP-Report-Sep-2015.pdf.
As previously indicated, AEG operates the StubHub Center on approximately 125 acres of land leased from the university. Following the recent TAP described above, AEG officials have expressed interest in engaging the university in negotiations to develop additional retail/hospitality enterprises.
The university has hired two teams of experts to assist with these negotiations and ensure maximum benefit to the university's academic facilities and programs:
Outside legal counsel specializing in high-level real estate contract and lease negotiations to represent our interests.
Real estate advisors to further assist in analyzing and quantifying highest-best use of university land, including the types and mixture of market-supported real estate generating the highest land-owner value over the long term and the potential impact on real estate development patterns from major potential events (e.g., 2024 Olympic Games and an NFL stadium in Inglewood).
To assist in guiding our overall efforts to bring new academic and other buildings to the campus and enhance our facilities, I have established a Land Development Committee comprised of faculty, students, staff, and administrators charged with the following:
A list of committee members is available on the President's Office website athttp://www4.csudh.edu/Assets/CSUDH-Sites/President/docs/task-force/TF-CSUDH-Land-Development-Committee-Members.pdf
A recent student housing feasibility study conducted by Brailsford and Dunlevy identified high interest/demand by students for additional on-campus housing. As a result, the university is actively pursuing options and alternatives to build an additional 500 beds to complement our current student residential population of 694 students. These efforts include both evaluating and pursuing development of additional student housing through the CSU’s dormitory revenue fund as well as discussions with a number of third-party developers experienced in providing high-quality student housing communities across the country.
Unlike the current apartment-style units in our existing student housing, the new units will likely include four-bedroom suites with shared living space, a configuration that has proven most effective in building strong residential-life programs that support student success. Amenities will include courtyards, study lounges, gathering pavilions, and other appropriate areas that promote a university-village setting.
A specific timeline for this development has not yet been established. Additional information will be provided in future Presidential Updates as our efforts progress.
In addition to a new science building, new student housing, and renovation of the existing science building, leveraging our land assets will enable us to build a new building for the College of Business Administration and Public Policy, renovate the existing Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) building, renovate LaCorte Hall and the University Theatre, and build a general classroom building to eliminate temporary buildings. Additional information regarding these efforts will be shared with the campus community as these efforts progress.
Among the many facility challenges we have at CSUDH are the number and condition of our “temporary” modular buildings and the age and condition of the Small College Complex. As such, CSUDH’s gross square feet of state-funded academic space per full-time equivalent student is 25% below that of the 23 CSU-campus average. The continued need for room for our growing enrollment without the construction of additional new buildings forces us to continue to rely on these facilities. These temporary buildings unfortunately house over 40% of our classroom seats, so eliminating them absent the capacity to relocate the classes and other functions is not an option. Instead, we are aggressively determining how to utilize our existing facilities more efficiently. This will enable us to incrementally relocate classrooms, offices, and support facilities from these deteriorating buildings into existing space. This will happen over time and we will likely need to lease new modular buildings for periods of time until new facilities such as our new Center for Science & Innovation, a new business building, and a general classroom building can be authorized and constructed.
As part of our overall capital improvement program, the university has completed a comprehensive inventory of all available space across campus, including classrooms, offices, labs, library, athletic, and other space. We are now working on determining opportunities to better utilize our physical space in ways that ensure our students, faculty, and staff can perform at their peak.
Areas of opportunity include:
The Facilities Master Plan calls for a library that serves as a learning commons and student success center rather than solely as a repository for books. We currently are exploring opportunities to relocate infrequently used book collections within the library to vacant space in the library basement that was initially planned, designed, and configured for this purpose during construction. This will allow us to reclaim the vacated space for other uses, in particular programs and activities supporting student success.
The Facilities Master Plan also envisions clustering several student services into a one-stop center at Welch Hall, where students can access admissions, financial aid, testing and advising, the registrar and other assistance all under one roof. Our space planning efforts currently are exploring how best to achieve this.
Our custodial and other facilities and maintenance staff take pride in the work they do to support a quality learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. Increases in student enrollment and corresponding increased use of our classrooms, restrooms, and other facilities, combined with aging infrastructure, tax our ability to maintain the operation and cleanliness of our campus as well as desired, however.
Beginning this fall, we added custodial staff and filled several vacant positions. We now have staff dedicated to the most heavily utilized buildings and restrooms. For example, we have designated a custodian to work only in the Small College Complex to more frequently inspect restrooms in this highly trafficked complex.