Saturday, February 24

Renovation plans move ahead thanks to SAFE fees


ASUCLA hopes to have numerous projects done by end of summer

The Associated Students UCLA is already starting some of the
renovation projects that could have been delayed if it were not for
the passage of the SAFE referendum two weeks ago.

The SAFE referendum, named for its relevance to students,
activities, facilities and employees, instituted a gradual yearly
increase in the annual fees students pay to ASUCLA from $7.50 this
year to $55.50 in 2009-2010. The fee will be adjusted for inflation
every three years after that.

At Friday’s services committee meeting, ASUCLA management
said it is working with designers to have several projects in
Ackerman Union done by the end of summer.

These projects include the first stage of upgrades to the
Cooperage on Ackerman Union’s A-level to include Taco Bell
and the renovation of the X-Cape Arcade, located next to the
Cooperage, into a juice bar and lounge. The student association is
also hoping for a healthy foods bar to be added to Ackerman’s
first floor.

“We’re going forward as fast as we can,” said
Bob Williams, ASUCLA’s interim executive director, at the
meeting. He noted that ASUCLA is planning a capital project to be
started almost every year over the next 10 years.

The future impacts of many of the projects, which could include
noise, dust and disrupted traffic flow, is uncertain, as the
project planning takes place closer to the proposed start date of a
project to put building code changes and equipment changes into
account, Williams said.

One of these long-term projects, the renovation of the North
Campus Student Center (which includes Northern Lights), may start
in about 10 years and could be allocated $10 million, according to
a capital expenditures plan in ASUCLA’s five-year
forecast.

While the impacts of these future projects have not yet been
assessed, work on the South Campus Student Center, which would
replace the Bombshelter, is slated to start as soon as 2006-2007
and could add to the area’s ongoing construction
projects.

Currently, renovation and construction projects are in progress
throughout and nearby the Court of Sciences, where the Bombshelter
is located. Five separate projects are in varying degrees of
completion: the California NanoSystems Institute, the Santa
Monica/Orthopaedic Replacement Hospital, the LaKretz Hall and
Auditorium and the two replacement Health Sciences buildings.

According to the UCLA Capital Programs Web site, the replacement
hospital is estimated to be completed in December 2007, while the
NanoSystems Institute is estimated to be completed by March 2005,
according to the institute’s building manager, Wendy
Morris.

While it is possible that many of the projects in the Court of
Sciences could still be ongoing as the South Campus Student Center
is being built, the university is also prepared to handle
construction concerns.

“Consideration will be given to pedestrian and vehicular
impacts, as well as noise, dust and visual concerns that go along
with any major project,” wrote Tom LaVanne, director of
construction services for UCLA Capital Programs, in an e-mail.

While designs are still being determined and contracts are being
negotiated, ASUCLA has several considerations to make as it embarks
on renovations to minimize the impact to the campus community and
the financial impact to itself, Williams said.

“We won’t go down a path that will tie things up
with other projects,” he said.

To decrease the impact of renovations, Williams said the
association would try to time the projects to occur over the
summer, but noted that some projects could start before the summer
or extend into the following fall quarter.

And in order to minimize the association’s impact on
customers and its own finances, ASUCLA plans capital projects to
occur one at a time. If a popular food eatery is closed during
renovation, its menu or parts of its menu would be served at open
facilities.

“Customers are very important to us, and we don’t
want to lose any customers in the construction period,”
Williams said.

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