Campus Commits Funds to Lower Sproul Development

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Plans for the redevelopment of Lower Sproul Plaza are under way after campus officials pledged $750,000 yesterday to begin the planning process.

The funds, approved by the Vice Chancellor's Administrative Council, will go toward the estimated $250 million Lower Sproul redevelopment project. Student officials from the ASUC and Graduate Assembly had pushed for the contribution.

"This is a huge deal for the ASUC ... and students were directly behind that pressure," said ASUC President Van Nguyen.

The funds will go toward hiring an architect to draft conceptual plans and a feasibility report for the project, Nguyen said in a statement, adding that he hopes the architect will be hired before current student officials' terms end.

The redevelopment project calls for the demolition and replacement of Eshleman Hall and the creation of a permanent multicultural center, among other plans.

ASUC and Graduate Assembly officials have been meeting with the vice chancellors since the beginning of the school year to develop a plan to move the project forward.

"I think mostly this had to do with the initiative of the students and the fact that they kept their focus," said Emily Marthinsen, assistant vice chancellor of physical and environmental planning in the capital projects office.

Graduate Assembly President Joshua Daniels said he believes that the campus would not have provided the funds without the student officials' lobbying efforts.

"I think that the campus's main concern was that students were not supportive of this idea," Daniels said.

The campus Capital Projects office will oversee the consultation process and take care of the project's logistics, while the students involved will do most of the planning with the consultants, Marthinsen said.

Although the funds from the administration will be the first step towards making plans for Lower Sproul a reality, students and administrators said they foresee a possible student fee increase through a referendum to help fund the project.

"I think this is a first step and that the campus will rely on the students to pay for the project," Marthinsen said.

Daniels said he believes that if a student fee increase were to be instated, students would be expected to contribute an appropriate amount.

"I have all the confidence in the world that we will find a fair amount that students can reasonably contribute," he said.

However, Daniels added that it is important for both the students and the campus administration to contribute funds and resources.

"I surely don't think that the students should be funding the whole project, and I don't think the campus could do it without student input," he said.

Nguyen said that future plans for the project will be up to later student administrations, as this year's ASUC officials end their terms in May.


Angelica Dongallo covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]

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