Take a walk down to the Chicano House and glance around.
Notice that instead of standing on dirt, there is a nice paved walkway between the house and the annex that was completed last May. Instead of a yellow brick road, there are faded red pavers joining the house and the annex, making a patio-like setting for events.
Last year, while planning on remodeling the old pond located off Lindley Avenue, north of the new Science V building, Physical Plant Management officials tried to salvage the pavers to give them to the Department of Chicana/o at CSUN for the house. When they tried to remove the pavers, PPM found they were cemented in and were unsalvageable.
So PPM went shopping for new pavers for the renovation of the Orange Grove located off Nordhoff Street. They found a supplier and got a good deal, so the extra pavers were used for the Chicano House.
“It was just dirt,” said Tom Brown, executive director of PPM. “It’s a lot cleaner now, safer. It looks very good with the mural. The houses are not really funded by the state, so we need to be innovative,” Brown said.
Brown is referring to the mural on the annex where three CSUN art graduates are working.
“It was a lot to us. We got the space between the annex paved. That really creates a patio space for events,” said Pardo, a Chicana/o studies professor. “There we were in the sand pile, we thought ‘Oh it would be easy.’ Then we thought ‘Oh no.’ So we are so grateful to Tom Brown. We could not have done it without him.”
“We really do what we can,” Pardo said. “It has been ongoing for a while.
“All those small houses are really as is. Little by little, like somebody’s house, you fix things when you get money. As much as we can, we try to create a cultural space for events and Chicano studies,” Pardo said. “We understand that we are low on the university’s priority list, so we are happy with what we get.”
Some might wonder why small renovations are made on the house if it is not considered a permanent building.
“It’s always been a temporary site. When the house was given to us, it was never considered permanent,” said David Rodriguez, chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies at CSUN.
Rodriguez also clarified that the campus does not intend to tear it down for its Envision 2035 plan. He said they “would be opposed to that.”
“It’s really a center of activity,” said Yreina Cervantes a Chicana/o studies professor who teaches an art class in the Chicano house.