Student Center Construction Begins

Reconstruction of the UC Irvine Student Center began over spring break, and is scheduled to continue for two years, during which a number of student facilities will be temporarily closed or relocated.
The new SC, scheduled to open in spring 2007, will be approximately 66 percent larger than its current size.
The Cross-Cultural Center is also slated for reconstruction, although the start date on its construction has not yet been determined.
SC Director Marc Tuchman anticipates that the renovation will have a tremendous effect on student life.
‘Students are going to be blown away,’ Tuchman said. ‘Campus life at UCI will change dramatically when the expansion of the [SC] and the [CCC] are completed. These facilities will be among the finest and largest in California.’
Tuchman said that the new amenities will offer a lot more space for meeting and studying, as well as nonacademic activities.
‘Meeting space will more than double in size and so will the amount of space for studying and relaxing,’ Tuchman said. ‘Following what the students told us early in this project, the [SC] will have much more space devoted to food services with two food courts instead of one. And for the first time, there will be a permanent stage on the terrace.’
The expanded CCC will be twice the size of the old building and will offer additional space for meetings and special events.
The SC, which is funded by student fees, first opened in 1981, and consisted of a bookstore, restaurant, music room, small game room, a few study areas and two conference rooms.
The current SC and the CCC were completed in 1990.
The additional services offered by the new SC will require students to pay an increased fee of $89 per quarter, up from the current fee of $47.50.
In 2001, UCI students voted to expand both centers, agreeing that the two facilities needed to expand to provide additional services to UCI’s growing student body. This vote also approved the increased fee. Tuchman said that the fee will not be increased until the project is completed.
The construction began with a groundbreaking ceremony on March 15, which also heralded the opening of the ‘yellow brick road,’ a pedestrian walkway between the SC and the Administration Building designed to help guide foot traffic onto Ring Mall and to allow access to the areas of the SC that will still be open during construction.
Tuchman said that no will be used in the first stage of renovation, as the project begins with demolition and then goes into reconstruction and renovation.
Noise levels will vary during the project. Tuchman said that since this is both a renovation and new construction, students can expect the same amount of noise as with any other on-campus construction project.
Most days, the contractors will work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., although, contractually, construction can go as late as 5 p.m.
Tuchman also said that the SC will eventually give students a number of convenient on-campus job opportunities.
‘During reconstruction, there will be fewer students working for the SC,’ Tuchman said. ‘However, when the SC expansion is completed, the number of students employed in the building will increase significantly.’
Student commuters may be relieved to hear that no parking lots are scheduled to be closed during the construction.
A special Web site has been created to guide students through the process of reconstruction. It is accessible at
http://www.studentcenter.uci.edu.