The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Renovation of student union postponed for third time

CSUN students will have to wait a little longer before they can use the new University Student Union’s $15.2 million renovation.

The renovated USU, which was scheduled to open March 16, was delayed due to rainfall, delivery delays and a ruptured water main, university officials said.

USU officials said they are hopeful the majority of the renovation project will be completed in the next few months.

“It’s our hope that everything will open in May with the exception of the Mercantile (Exchange) and coffee house,” Debra Hammond, Executive Director of the USU, said.

The coffee house and Mercantile Exchange are expected to open in early June, Hammond said.

“(March 16) was the day that the contractor was supposed to be substantially completed,” she said.

This is the third time the renovation project has been delayed, said Jason Wang, USU Associate Director.

The first delay pushed the opening to Dec. 23, 2005. The second moved the completion date to March 16.

The delays are the result of the rain from last year, said Ken Rosenthal, manager of Construction Services.

The first delay came during the foundation and footing process, he said.

There was nothing else that could be worked on because all the work was outdoors work, Rosenthal said.

With each rainy day, the USU construction project would lose a few days, said university officials, adding that the ground becomes saturated and it does not dry fast enough.

The recent rainfall has also affected construction.

There have not been enough days in the last two weeks to compensate for all the rain days, Wang said.

He said late shipments of materials also contributed to the delay.

Materials include door frames, tiles and other miscellaneous items.

“One thing impacts another,” Hammond said.

The inside of the building is more complete than the outside, despite the fact the outside area looks like a “disaster,” Wang said.

The inside of the building is expected to be done within the next week or two, he said.

The recent rainfall will not affect the work being done on the inside, Rosenthal said.

A rupture in the water main was also a possible cause, Hammond said.

It has been temporarily fixed, but because of the rain it has not been permanently repaired, Hammond said.

The water main needs to be fixed before the cement could be poured in, she said.

The rupture occurred during Phase I of the renovation, which ended in November 2004.

Rosenthal said there was little effect from the water-main rupture. He said he considered the rupture a normal course of construction activities.

Talks of the renovation of the building was first introduced in 1998. In 2000, a referendum was put on the Associated Students ballot with 77 percent of students voting yes on the renovation and building of a new structure, Hammond said.

Students expressed some discontent with the delays.

“I’m just annoyed by the seeming lack of organization and coordination,” said Roger Standridge, a computer science graduate student. “It seems like there’s no one really running the job.”

One student was not surprised by the recent delay.

“Every single construction gets delayed in the university,” said Cara Ellis, junior deaf studies major. “I get sick of having to look at it.”

Hammond and Wang said they are both disappointed that the new USU has taken so long to open.

Despite delays, USU officials and students remain optimistic of the final outcome.

“I think it’s a tremendous addition to the campus,” Wang said.

Strandridge expressed similar sentiments.

“It’s going to be a beautiful facility when it gets done,” Standridge said.

When completed, the USU renovation project will feature an outdoor performance area, Freudian Sip, a Hub building and a Mercantile exchange.

A Grand Opening Celebration is expected and will be planned by a special committee from the USU.

Ford E.C. Inc., the company that is working on the construction, was also involved in the building of the Sierra Center, Corporation Yard and science buildings three and four, Wang said.

Victor Flores can be reached at

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