Tag Archives: Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union

Building the Future

Our recent commencement weekend was one of pride and celebration and a special opportunity to show the beauty of our campus to the families and friends of our graduates.  Our facilities, custodial and landscaping staff do a great job in showcasing the campus and deserve our thanks.

In its grandeur, our campus is a powerful symbol of our commitment to academic excellence and achievement, and this year was a historic one in the life of our physical campus.  We completed construction on the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union and the newly renovated Storm-Nasatir-Hostler Hall complex.  Two of the largest buildings on our campus, these campus icons are centers of student life and academic programs.

Storm-Nasatir-Hostler halls complex at SDSU

Renovated Storm-Nasatir-Hostler complex

Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union at SDSU

Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union

 

 

 

 

 

This summer, we write another chapter.  We are beginning a top-to-bottom renovation of Zura residence hall, breaking ground on our new Basketball Performance Center with its basketball practice courts and facilities and renovating our College of Business Administration with the addition of the Page Pavilion.  We also will be continuing the work on our heating and electrical systems and the painting and refurbishment of many campus buildings that began last summer.

Two important developments related to campus facilities occurred at the recent meeting of the Board of Trustees of the California State University.  First, the board approved the design for our new mixed use development on College Avenue, just south of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

SDSU's proposed housing and retail development on College Avenue.Featuring an urban greenscape and two six-story buildings, the  complex will house over 600  students and provide retail  opportunities for our students,  faculty, staff and the local  community.  The development also will provide much-needed short-term parking for campus visitors.  All of these features will be a significant step forward for our campus and our community.

Second, the board reviewed Governor Brown’s legislative proposal to shift the responsibility for facilities debt service from the state to the California State University, and CSU Chancellor Tim White voiced his public support for this proposal.  Even though the proposal may not pass this year, the landmark change in California’s financing of campus facilities has already been adopted by the University of California and is likely to pass in the near future.

While this change has raised concerns, it also creates possibilities and, for San Diego State, possibilities have always been more important than concerns.  One of the most important aspects of the legislation is that it would allow our university the flexibility to use operating funds to construct campus buildings.

This changes everything.

By combining operating, philanthropic and state funds, we could move from a passive approach of waiting for facilities allocations from the state to a proactive approach of creating funding models that allow us to pursue our academic priorities.  The new engineering and interdisciplinary sciences building that we have dreamed about for many years could move from dream to reality as fast as we could make it happen.

The landscape for public higher education in California continues to be a rapidly changing one.  Yet, within this turbulent environment, there are profound opportunities for building the future. Let’s take them!

Artist's rendering of new Page Pavilion at SDSU's College of Business Administration

Page Pavilion plan

Artist's rendering of Zura Hall renovation plans at SDSU

Rendering of Zura Hall remodel

Proposed Basketball Performance Center at SDSU

Basketball Performance Center

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Filed under Athletics, College of Arts and Letters, College of Business Administration, College of Engineering, News, Uncategorized

The Aztec Spirit

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman, left, philanthropist Conrad Prebys and AS President Josh MorseFebruary 5th was an extraordinary day at SDSU. We began the day by announcing Conrad Prebys’ $20 million gift to support student scholarships and naming our new Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.  I ended the day at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center with a group of the university’s dedicated supporters, watching the fifth-ranked Aztecs men’s basketball team come from behind to beat Boise State in the closing seconds.  As we rolled out of the parking lot, I asked my wife if we should stop to buy lottery tickets.  It had been a great day, and I was feeling very lucky.

Our fundraising and athletic successes are just two reasons why it is a great time to be an Aztec.  Due to the dedicated efforts of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and community supporters, we are enjoying enormous success – a record number of applications, academic success and increased graduation rates for students from all backgrounds, important research discoveries, the power and strength of a diverse student body, international programs that have resulted in a record number of Fulbright fellows, national recognition in college rankings, and new initiatives in the arts, where our programs have a tradition of excellence.  In the past two years alone, Aztecs have won an Oscar, a Grammy and 12 regional Emmys.  These accomplishments, and many more, are built on and bring to fruition 116 years of dedicated service by the members of our community.

The university, of course, is not perfect, and we do face significant challenges. Since 2007, we have faced a transition in higher education with reduced state funding for our operations and our facilities.  This has resulted in lower faculty and staff levels and affected our facilities. Our strategic plan, “Building on Excellence,” recognizes that we must address these issues to ensure the university’s long-term success. We have taken significant steps through the strategic plan toward achieving these objectives, and there is more work to be done in the coming year.

Aztec players celebrate win at Boise State.

Brian Losness/USA TODAY

In meeting these challenges, our traditions and history serve us well.  We have faced many difficulties and, each time, we have moved our campus forward.  In 1930-31, amidst the enormous uncertainties of the Great Depression, we moved our campus to Montezuma Mesa and laid the cornerstone of Hepner Hall.  In 2011, our students, facing the deepest recession in U.S. history, followed in this tradition and began construction on the new Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.  Each of us knows of many, many more examples in which the vision, dedication and investment of the members of our community helped us overcome challenges and create something special.

This Aztec Spirit – this commitment to advancing our campus – is why we will meet our current challenges and achieve even greater success.  This, above all, is why it is – and always will be – a great time to be an Aztec.

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Filed under Building on Excellence, Community, Strategic Plan, Uncategorized