PAC construction continues after two month hold

Adolfo Flores

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The 223,000-pound crane erected on the site of the future Performing Arts Center meant construction was restarting after the California State University Chancellor’s Office placed a hold on its construction.

‘When the budget was still up in the air the Chancellor of the CSU system put a hold on any state university projects that were partially or fully funded by state bonds however once we had a budget we were able to continue construction,’ said Gaila Brown, director of the PAC’s Imagine the Arts campaign.

‘(The hold) could’ve lasted much longer than the anticipated 90 days’hellip;now we’re just moving forward.’

While it was originally estimated that construction of the $125 million PAC would be put on hold for at least 90 days, it only lasted for 60 days. The Chancellor’s office notified CSUN that construction could continue on Feb. 20 and building began on Monday.

‘Given that California’s government has recently adopted a 17-month budget, the CSU anticipates return of construction funding from state general-obligation and lease revenue bonds,’ said CSU spokesman Erik Fallis in a prepared statement.

‘The university system is therefore restarting some construction immediately and will be gradually reinitiating all projects.’

Some additional costs were incurred when the construction was halted, partly because of measures taken to protect the structure from the elements.

Colin Donahue, associate vice president for Facilities Development and Operation, said the costs wont be certain for at least 30 days, but estimates they will be around $3 million.

‘Right now the project is 30 percent complete,’ Donahue said, adding that because construction was halted for two months it doesn’t mean the completion date was pushed back by the same amount of time.

‘It will probably be longer because there’s a period of time needed to have construction proceed at full swing and we’re in the process of evaluating it,’ he said. ‘(Completion) looks more like summer 2010 as opposed to spring 2010.’

Over 200 projects in the CSU system had to be put on hold due to a lack of budget, Brown said, which affected the state’s ability to sell bonds.

‘California’s credit was affected by not having a budget, but once we got a budget we were able to sell bonds,’ she said. ‘It wasn’t just the CSU, other state funded projects and all kinds of state infrastructure were put on hold because they were partially or fully funded by state bonds.’

The project received $63.3 million from California bonds and $50 million in private donations, Brown said. The university would continue to seek the additional funding necessary to complete the project.

‘We want (the PAC) to be first of all, the center for culture in the Valley because we don’t have a major cultural center in the Valley,’ she said.

Manager of Construction Services, Ken Rosenthal, is concerned that personnel who were familiar with the project would be reassigned before constructed begins. The hold also pushed CSUN back in the supply queue.

‘The state had to cancel all (supply) orders and now we have to go to the back of the line,’ Rosenthal said. ‘The aluminum is probably my biggest concern because Alcoa, who was going to supply the aluminum, closed down 13 plants across the U.S. and we don’t know where we are in that line.’