Campus has no plans to rebuild women?s center

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Tina Helwajian STAFF REPORTER

Campus employees say that the Women?s Research and Resource Center on the corner of Plummer Street and Darby Avenue, which caught fire in December 2007, will not be rebuilt.

Richard Spaniardi, risk manager for the Environmental Health and Safety Office, said, ?The building was worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars, and the damage was so extensive that to repair it would have been unfeasible.?

Elizabeth A. Say, dean of the College of Humanities, said the fire caused more than $150,000 in damages.

?It was fully destroyed,? Say said. ?The cost of rebuilding it doesn?t make sense, so we will have to relocate it somewhere else.?

CSUN Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Harry Hellenbrand said there was no chance of renovating the center because it would require the campus to make several repairs to restore it to building code standards.

Spaniardi said the burned building has not been demolished yet because of the expense.

Stephanie Montes, assistant director of the Women?s Research and Resource Center, said its members discussed fundraising options to raise the money needed to rebuild.

But fundraising will not help, because the center is not part of the Envision 2035 for CSUN, she said.

Hellenbrand said the campus plans to turn the location on which the center is located into academic buildings or living quarters for students and faculty by 2035.

Montes said, ?On a temporary basis, we were offered by the Asian American Studies Department to relocate to their building, and they will allow us to use their space.?

Though she is grateful for the department?s help, Montes said she is disappointed that the temporary location does not have adequate space for the large events and classes that were held at the center.

?We?re trying our hardest to have our voices heard,? Montes said.

Spaniardi said there was a blackout the same night as the fire, but fire marshals couldn?t connect the two incidents as anything more than a coincidence.

?The cause of the fire seems to have been triggered by rags in a broom closet that spontaneously combusted,? Spaniardi said.

Say said the center was used for self-defense classes, substance abuse programs and safe sex practice classes, among other resources for women at CSUN and the surrounding community.

Say said the center offered access to support groups for self-esteem, health and feminist spirituality. The center also provided educational programs and a referral service to community resources such as local practitioners, as well as agencies and organizations that specialized in counseling and legal aid.