The Fresno State campus is more than just a place – it’s a culture of inclusiveness and transformation centered on student success.

At the heart of this campus is our students. From all walks of life, Fresno State students share the common bond and desire to learn, innovate and become the next generation of leaders. They are fueled by our faculty and staff, and when they uniquely engage with one another, bold ideas emerge.

Together, we can ignite student success and leadership by building a new, larger, state-of-the-art Student Union that provides a dynamic atmosphere of programmatic spaces and student-centered areas for events and services. Its very existence will create a sense of belonging that unifies the campus as a vibrant hub of student life.

HISTORY:

The current University Student Union (USU) opened in 1968. At 52,000 square feet, the facility was designed for a campus of just 10,000 students. In the early 1970s the Kennel Bookstore opened next door to expand services for students, but by 1975 the USU was considered too small to serve the growing student body.

The Satellite Student Union opened in 1987 to help address the deficit in student space on campus. This mid-sized auditorium can seat just under 1,000.

The early 1990s brought the next expansion in services with the opening of a snack bar with retail dining concepts in the Student Union’s basement, popularly known as “The Pit.” This was followed by the pavilion between the USU and Kennel Bookstore.

Decades have passed since the last major upgrade of the student union, yet the campus continues to grow. With enrollment now at approximately 24,000 students strong, it is the time to invest in a facility that features the atmosphere, technology and functionality to support student learning and engagement.

BACKGROUND/FEASIBILITY STUDY:

In February 2015, the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), the premier organization for building new models of successful campus communities, tasked experienced industry student affairs professionals to evaluate the facilities, services and operations that support student involvement at Fresno State. Lead ACUI consultants visited the campus on February 4-5, 2015, and interacted with faculty members, staff, administrators and students to understand the needs of the campus community. Student input was critical to this process, and three open forums were held with students across campus and student leaders in addition to a separate meeting with the University Student Union (USU) Board.

The consultant team heard an avid desire for an environment that cultivates student engagement, campus spirit and pride, as well as a need for facilities that create and enhance community. Fresno State students expressed frustration at the lack of facility space and emphasized that this was a barrier to student involvement. During open forums, members of student affairs and other campus divisions voiced similar concerns and added that the lack of space and services to support them have limited their ability to achieve departmental goals.

In response to this review, conversations about the feasibility for building a new University Student Union & Faculty Center began during the summer and fall of 2015 semesters. Stantec, a national architecture firm specializing in higher education facility design, was hired to develop a feasibility study. With over 59 years of experience serving campus communities and having designed over 200 academic facilities, Stantec met with ASI student leaders and the USU board, members of the student body, staff, faculty and Academic Senate, President’s Cabinet, community members and other campus leaders to develop a vision for a new student union.

To view the full feasibility report, click here (40MB PDF)

CONCEPTUAL ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN:

Imagine the power of learning, connecting and innovating in an environment that promotes a greater sense of belonging. A striking plaza links the Henry Madden Library, existing University Student Union with our new Student Union & Faculty Development Center creating a synergistic hub that cultivates friendships, camaraderie and that infectious Bulldog spirit.

The proposed site for the New Student Union & Faculty Center is near the University Center and adjacent to the existing Amphitheatre in close proximity to the Henry Madden Library and existing University Student Union. This location complements and aligns with the University’s physical master plan for a new main campus entry off Jackson Avenue in the future. This new entrance will make a powerful impression, providing a stunning and welcoming portal to the heart of campus, while representing the vibrancy that is Fresno State.

The Student Union & Faculty Center will span approximately 100,000 square feet and will include the following features:



  • Welcome Center greeting future students, parents, and visitors by providing an inviting and friendly landmark for the University.
  • Large tiered meeting room to conduct student and visitor orientations to kick off campus tours.
  • Retail dining space and many food options, including healthy choices, offering the flexibility of dining in or eating on-the-go.
  • Study lounges, intimate study spaces and a campus living room, all designed with the latest technological advancements, providing a comfortable home away from home for student enrichment.
  • Vast indoor spaces throughout every floor of the building, providing convenient gathering areas that support student involvement.
  • A dedicated student leadership center fostering the growth of the future leaders of tomorrow, providing experiential learning opportunities and deeper connections with the community.
  • Offices for Associated Students Inc. enabling greater visibility, access and support for our student clubs and organizations.
  • Offices of Student Involvement and Engagement.
  • Large, flexible multipurpose rooms ideal for student, staff, faculty and community events.
  • A relaxing outdoor terrace where students enjoy beautiful Valley afternoons while students down below do the same in the open green space off the ballroom. All around, student activity is clearly alive and well.

Master Site Plan – view PDF
Project Completion Site Plan – view PDF

FRESNO STATE FACULTY CENTER:

Faculty at Fresno State are world-class academic leaders, dedicated to unlocking opportunity through education and research. These individuals are at the forefront of academic exploration in the Central Valley, creating life-changing learning experiences for students and working with industry leaders to solve real-world issues.

The Fresno State Faculty Center is designed to support faculty’s innovative practices. With the addition of this center, faculty will gain dedicated spaces for professional development and trans-disciplinary collaboration.

This center will create a place for cultivating collaborative experiences and idea sharing with colleagues. The campus culture will benefit from having a place where faculty can share learning outcomes, discuss research opportunities and harness the power of technology to enhance instruction.

Featuring a flexible and adaptive design, the Faculty Center will be composed of multiple spaces to host a variety of events including workshops, meetings, and seminars.

The Fresno State Faculty Center is designed to help faculty in their roles as teachers, learners, scholars, and members of the community. Built on a foundation of collaboration and cooperation, this center will serve as the heart of academia for years to come.

Fresno State Seal

STUDENT UNION EXAMPLES:

The proposed New Fresno State Student Union & Faculty Center will be approximately 100,000 square feet and will be funded through a combination of student body fees, campus and donor/private support. Take a look at a few recently completed Student Unions at other CSU campuses.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

General

The “Bold New Union” represents the vision of building a new, larger, state-of-the-art student union that provides a dynamic atmosphere of programmatic spaces and student-centered areas for events and services. Its very existence is meant to create a sense of belonging that unifies the campus as a vibrant hub of student life.

In February 2015, consultants from the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) interacted with Fresno State faculty, staff and students to understand the needs of the campus community.

The vision for the new student union is a response to those faculty, staff and students who expressed frustration at the lack of facility space and emphasized that this was a barrier to student involvement and achieving departmental goals.

Read the full feasibility report (40 MB PDF) here.

This project would cost approximately $80 million. Here are some similar student unions in the California State University system and their costs:

The potential Bold New Union will be funded partly by a student tuition fee increase that will go directly toward paying for the building.

However, funding will not rest on the students’ shoulders alone. The cost of the building will be subsidized by fundraising efforts and other sources.

The University will not be using funds reserved for other primary projects (e.g. academics, other building upgrades) for this building.

Most projects of this size can take 3-5 years.

If the student referendum passes in March, the estimated completion date will be spring 2021. The estimated ground-breaking would be in spring 2019. This is contingent upon support.

No. This Bold New Union will not replace the current USU. However, it will provide the campus with the opportunity to re-imagine student services that could be placed in the current USU.

No. This project will not detract from other priority capital projects that would add new instructional spaces (classrooms, labs, faculty offices, etc.) or impact the funding of any academic priorities.

Instead, it will provide additional opportunities for high-impact, co-curricular practices and serve the entire campus community.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro is always welcoming ideas, concerns and kudos. Visit the Office of the President feedback page to submit your thoughts about other campus projects.

The proposed site for the New Student Union & Faculty Center is near the University Center and adjacent to the existing Amphitheatre, in close proximity to the Henry Madden Library and existing University Student Union. This location at the heart of campus will establish the area as a synergistic hub that cultivates friendships, camaraderie and that infectious Bulldog spirit.

It also complements and aligns with the University’s physical master plan for a new main campus entry off Jackson Avenue in the future. Click here for the project completion site plan. To view the ultimate vision for this area of campus, click here for the master site plan.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and the community are encouraged to leave feedback about this Bold New Union below. We want to hear from you!

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro is always welcoming ideas, concerns and kudos. Visit the Office of the President feedback page to submit your thoughts about other campus projects.

Students

The new student union will be designed to accommodate the University’s 24,000+ students by customizing the building and services to fit the specific needs of the Fresno State students, as well as keeping the needs of future students in mind.

The proposed new student union’s 100,000 square feet will provide students with dynamic and interchangeable meeting spaces, new dining that will feature healthy eating options, dedicated space for student organizations, a student leadership center that will premiere national best practices, and vast indoor spaces to provide students with convenient gathering space for informal interaction.

This new union will also include a Welcome Center, office space for Student Involvement and Associated Students, Inc., a relaxing outdoor terrace that can be utilized year-round, an auditorium, and an event center that can accommodate large audiences.

A majority student vote is needed to pass the fee referendum that will help support this new union. So, on March 28, 2017, students will be given the opportunity to support the Bold New Union by casting their vote!

The proposed annual student fee increase is $400 – but the student tuition won’t increase to pay for the building fees until the building opens (in 3-5 years).

The referendum will include the rationale for the building and the proposed tuition fee increase in support of the building. Students will be contacted with details on how to vote as the referendum date draws nearer.

Depending on the vote in March, the potential Bold New Union will be funded partly by a fee increase that will go directly toward paying for the building – but the student tuition won’t increase to pay for the building fees until the building opens.

The proposed annual student fee increase is $400.

Typical building construction could take 3-5 years. So, if you’re graduating next year, you won’t pay the fees.

Fundraising efforts are underway to subsidize the cost for students. Fresno State fees are the lowest in the California State University (CSU) system, and with the fee increase, Fresno State will still be well below the CSU average.

Typical building construction could take 3-5 years. Nevertheless, the proposed new union will have large, flexible multipurpose rooms will be ideal for community events. It will also feature a Welcome Center at the heart of campus, dedicated to greeting future students, parents and visitors by providing an inviting and friendly landmark for the University.

Students today can leave their legacy on campus, transforming the lives of the next generation of Bulldogs, by supporting this vision for a Bold New U.

The primary way students can get involved in this project is by casting their votes in March!

In the meantime, students can leave their feedback on this Bold New U below.

Students can also share their thoughts on social media. Use the hashtags #BoldNewU and #BoldNewLegacy to share your dreams of this Bold New Union. Follow Fresno State, Student Involvement and Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) on social media to stay up to date!

Faculty and Staff

The proposed Fresno State faculty center would be located inside this new union; it is designed to help faculty in their roles as teachers, learners, scholars and members of the community. Built on a foundation of collaboration and cooperation, this center will serve as the heart of academia for years to come.

The proposed center will be approximately 10,000 sq. ft. and will provide space for professional development and trans-disciplinary collaboration.

Take a look at the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at California State University, Stanislaus, which is an inspiration for Fresno State’s proposed faculty center: https://www.csustan.edu/faculty-center.

It is proposed that the faculty center be funded by a combination of University and private support.

No. Any potential student tuition increase will fund the new student union, not the faculty center.

Research shows that college learning spaces should foster student engagement and involvement. Therefore, the newly-proposed, comprehensive, state-of-the-art student union will promote co-curricular learning and allow students to build strong relationships with each other that will impact the development of our community.

The proposed new student union’s 100,000 square feet will provide students with dynamic and interchangeable meeting spaces, new dining that will feature healthy eating options, dedicated space for student organizations, a student leadership center that will premiere national best practices, and vast indoor spaces to provide students with convenient gathering areas for informal interaction.

It will be built for Fresno State’s growing student population, accommodating the University’s 24,000+ students by customizing the building and services to fit the specific needs of students. The existing University Student Union was built almost half-a-century ago, when the student population was 10,000.

There are unlimited opportunities for the Bold New Union to impact faculty and staff. The building would serve as the heartbeat of campus and include opportunities to provide dynamic co-curricular experiences to students.

The Bold New Union would provide new space for meetings, events, conferences, guest speakers, programming, lecturers, debates, symposiums, dining and socializing.

Because this Bold New Union would not replace the current University Student Union (USU), the campus will be able to re-imagine student services that could be placed in the current USU. This could lead to additional office space for staff.

Furthermore, the proposed faculty center would be located in the Bold New Union. This center is designed to help faculty in their roles as teachers, learners, scholars and members of the community. Built on a foundation of collaboration and cooperation, this center would serve as the heart of academia for years to come. Take a look at the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at California State University, Stanislaus, which is an inspiration for Fresno State’s proposed faculty center: https://www.csustan.edu/faculty-center.

Faculty and staff can support the Bold New Union by attending the forums, encouraging students to learn about this project and by leaving feedback below.

Alumni, Friends and the Community

The newly-proposed comprehensive, state-of-the-art student union will allow students to build strong relationships with each other that will impact the development of our community.

Research dependably confirms the significance of college student unions in recruiting and keeping students on campus. Therefore, the new student union will be designed to accommodate the University’s 24,000+ students by customizing the building and services to fit the specific needs of the Fresno State students, as well as keeping the needs of future students in mind. The existing University Student Union was built almost half-a-century ago, when the student population was 10,000.

Research also shows that college learning spaces should foster student engagement and involvement. Therefore, the newly-proposed, comprehensive, state-of-the-art student union will promote co-curricular learning and allow students to build strong relationships with each other that will impact the development of our community.

The proposed new student union’s 100,000 square feet will provide students with dynamic and interchangeable meeting spaces, new dining that will feature healthy eating options, dedicated space for student organizations, a student leadership center that will premiere national best practices, and vast indoor spaces to provide students with convenient gathering areas for informal interaction.

This new union will also include a Welcome Center, office space for Student Involvement and Associated Students, Inc., a relaxing outdoor terrace that can be utilized year-round, an auditorium, and an event center that can accommodate large audiences.

The proposed New Student Union and Faculty Development Center addresses the need for a collaborative, comfortable space dedicated to faculty. It will bring students and faculty from all disciplines together under one roof, supporting and encouraging research, scholarship and creative ideas.

A dedicated faculty center would be located inside this building; it will be approximately 10,000 sq. ft. and will provide space for professional development and trans-disciplinary collaboration.

The facility would feature the atmosphere, technology and functionality to support both student and faculty learning and engagement. Bringing these innovative minds together has powerful results that will revolutionize our region.

Yes! We are excited to propose a facility with large, flexible multipurpose rooms that will be ideal for student, staff, faculty and community events.

The proposed new student union will also feature a Welcome Center at the heart of campus, dedicated to greeting future students, parents and visitors by providing an inviting and friendly landmark for the University.

To support this project, please contact David Hembree, Director of Development for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, at 559.278.5052 or dhembree@csufresno.edu.
Yes! To support this project or explore naming opportunities, please contact David Hembree, Director of Development for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, at 559.278.5052 or dhembree@csufresno.edu.

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