AS approves $4.7 million for expansion of Sustainability Center

Alexandra Chidbachian

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Associated Students approved the final financial decision to help assist in expanding and renovating the Sustainability Center on CSUN for an estimated cost of $4.7 million.

The recommendation of expanding the Sustainability Center was proposed by AS over six years ago. A study was conducted in 2009 to examine the current facility and the operations of the center. The study was conducted by students, facility, administers, academic departments and the Institute for Sustainability. The study concluded that the center was in need of expansions and improvements such as adding educational activities.

In 2014 AS was informed that the project would cost $3.6 million. AS senate then authorized a three year plan to save $3.8 million. Last month, AS was informed that the center will now cost $6.2 million.

According to the Finance Committee, they lowered the total cost to $4.7 million by reducing costs of items that were not of high priority. Within those six years, AS has been setting aside money into Future Reserves for the construction of the center. According to AS General Manager David Crandall, as of July 2015 AS will have saved $4.5 million to be used exclusively for the center.

All of the funds came from corporate reserves over the past six years, and not from Unassigned Contingency or from the AS Annual Budget. Any excess funds from other pools like Student Travel and Academic Research (STAR) will roll over into Future Reserves.

The AS senate board voted to give authority to the General Manager to secure a $300,000 loan from The University Corporations (TUC) and to be paid back within three years. At the meeting AS also approved to use 60% of the funds from Capital Improvement and Replacement over the next four years for the purchase of items.

“Doing things like this will let you build the Sustainability Center you want without hurting the annual budget”, stated Crandall during a presentation to senators.

The newly-renovated center will include a conference room, offices for its employees, students and interns, a community resource center, a studio, a laboratory for students, an art center, an educational activity area and a yard. The center will also be home of the Institute of Sustainability department. The building itself will be 3,240 sq. ft., the exterior Yard will be approximately 5,000 sq. ft. The Yard will be used for the main recycling operations of delivering and picking-up materials via forklift and truck.

“The center itself will have sustainable features like compost toilets and laptops besides desktops and energy and water efficient equipment” said Crandall, “This is going to be an amazing place”.

Construction is set to begin in January of 2016 and finish in January of 2017.

April 27 Meeting Highlights:

AS approved the final version of the 2015-2016 Annual Budget and Language as submitted.

Senators approved the transfer of $5,000 to the Aquatic Center for equipment.

AS approved a recommendation from External Affairs to start a veteran’s memorial on campus to express gratitude for students who have served. The legislative referral will be revised in the fall semester.

AS approved the development of a Snapchat geo-tag filter. Currently all recommendations from AS marketing given to Snapchat have not been approved.

University Affairs informed AS senators of their legislative referral of increasing hours to on-campus dinning locations. AS approved their recommendation and or know waiting till the fall semester to be notified by the Associate Director of Campus Dinning if this plan is possible.

AS approved Senate Bill 2014-15-012, known as AS Support of CSUN It’s AppJam. Students have the ability to create an app in teams that showcases one of the two categories of student life or student finances.