Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 22, as Fresno State starts its 102nd year with an anticipated enrollment of more than 22,400 students and the university’s biggest freshman class of more than 3,000.

The 2012-13 academic year also begins with substantial unknowns, most tied to the fate of Proposition 30 in the Nov. 6 election.

If the measure is approved, there would be a temporary increase in income tax for the wealthiest Californians and a quarter-cent temporary boost in the sales tax, which would generate sufficient state revenues to increase support for public higher education. Tuition fees would be rolled back by $498 to 2011-12 levels, leaving Fresno State to absorb a $13.2 million revenue reduction.

If the tax initiative fails, said Fresno State President John D. Welty, it could mean more tuition fee increases, enrollment limits, added fees for heavy course loads, higher tuition for nonresidents, pay and benefits cuts for all employees and possible faculty, staff and administration layoffs.

What is known, however, is that fall enrollment at Fresno State will be nearly 700 above last year’s , with about 1,750 new upper-division transfer students and 650 new graduate or credential students

As the new school year begins, here are some new and recent developments on campus:

  • Thanks to generous private gifts to Fresno State, construction work is under way on the Meyers Family Sports Medicine Center, the new and expanded Gibson Farm Market and the Foster Farms Poultry Facility. Site preparation work is scheduled to begin on the retail phase of Campus Pointe during the next few months.
  • In the design phase are a faculty office/laboratory building to house Physical Therapy and some Athletics coaching faculty and the Jordan Research Center, which will provide research facilities for colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Engineering and Science and Mathematics.
  • New to campus are 22 tenure-track faculty and searches have been authorized to begin for more than 50 other faculty members and deans of the Craig School of Business and the College of Science and Mathematics.
  • The Campaign for Fresno State is above 96 percent of its $200 million goal, with $22.7 million in private gifts during 2011-12, despite the difficult economic climate.
  • Welty announced that this will be his last year as he plans to retire from Fresno State’s presidency by summer 2013.
  • The new academic year welcomes a new Associated Students Inc. President Arthur Montejano, a graduate student in kinesiology from Atwater, who was elected in the spring.
  • Associated Students Inc. plans a voter education and registration drive this fall to help students participate in the Nov. 6 election that will elect a United States president and decide the fate of Gov. Brown’s tax initiative.
  • A $4 million makeover of Parking Lots A and J east of classroom and the Joyal Administration buildings added nearly 500 parking spaces for students. The reconstruction has improved lighting, increased security cameras, repaired tree-damaged pavement and improved traffic flow through one of the campus’ busiest parking areas that also gets heavy visitor use.
  • For the third straight academic year, community volunteer service by Fresno State students, faculty, staff and administrators exceeded 1 million hours.
  • Grants for research at Fresno State exceeded $41 million during the 2011-12 academic year, the second greatest total on record. Particle physics, water development and preservation, medical challenges and space are among the research areas covered in the past year’s awards.
  • Two new independent doctoral programs are set to be launched this fall – one in physical therapy and the other in nursing practice.
  • One hundred classrooms were updated during the summer break.
  • The new Fresno State Choice Card will be the subject of open forum discussions at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, Aug. 22-24, at the University Student Union Rooms 312-314. The sessions were scheduled in answer to students’ questions about a new procedure for receiving financial aid, reimbursement and other money from Fresno State.
  • Bulldogbites joins California’s growing food-truck culture providing breakfast and lunch to students, employees and Fresno State visitors. The truck, operated by University Dining Services, features menu items not found at other places to eat on campus and adds a dining option to the east side of Fresno State, where some of the biggest classroom buildings are situated.

In welcoming faculty and staff to the new academic year, President Welty said, “We realize there has never been a time in which the future has been more uncertain. But even so, I firmly believe the opportunities are great. This is one of those times in our history when there will be significant change.”