California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) held a ceremonial groundbreaking in honor of the new Otter Student Union on April 16, as construction will not begin until summer later this year. Even though there was rain leading up to the event, the ceremonial groundbreaking turned out successful, and boasted a huge crowd turnout who saw CSUMB start its next chapter with new and upcoming buildings to better serve students and faculty.
This is a huge breakthrough, as the current Student Center is smaller and there is not much room to build more opportunity on since the current Student Center was a former army building. In order to have more opportunity and space due to the continuous growth of students at CSUMB, a new student union is necessary.
“This new Otter Student Union will provide much-needed space for student organizations and activities. As our university continues to grow and mature, we hope the activities in this new building will make each of our students feel an even greater sense of belonging here at CSUMB.” said CSUMB’s President, Eduardo M. Ochoa.
Within the new Otter Student Union (OSU), slated to open in spring of 2020, will be 70,000 gross square feet. This Student Union will include 3 stories, which is planned to include Otter Cross Cultural Center, a Game Room, a Starbucks, the Inter-Garrison Plaza, Main Quad Plaza and varied conference and group study spaces. These were intentionally added into the building in response to students’ feedback on the feasibility studies, a lounge area, the university bookstore, retail/dining options to be announced, along with Indoor and outdoor podium seating.
There will also be department offices and professional staff, which is to include OSU professional student and staff offices, Associated Students offices, along with the Student Activities & Leadership Development professional staff offices.
“The new OSU will provide an important hub for the campus community, offering a plethora of opportunities for formal and informal gathering. From hosting meetings and events to providing important casual environments for chatting with friends and colleagues, the OSU will truly enhance the CSUMB experience.” said OSU Director, Dr. Chelsea Buffington.
What is currently Lot 12 will no longer be a usable parking lot starting this summer. The new OSU will take the space where lot 12 is, and there will be noticable changes.
Parking Lot 12 offers 225 parking spaces. With Lot 12 no longer going to be a lot once Summer starts, the spaces that Lot 12 had have already been moved. With the newest parking lot here and the only lot that was built by CSUMB; Lot 59, which is on 7th avenue, was built to have plenty of parking spaces and put the stalls that Lot 12 would have into this parking lot.
Even though Lot 12 is a favorite of students and staff, there is plenty of parking in lot 59 (close to the remaining barracks standing), and has 826 parking spaces. Lot 59 is also connected via transit and safe pedestrian/bike path into the campus core, so folks who used to park in Lot 12 now know where the relocated stalls are.
The famous mural surrounding Lot 12 will also be demolished. The mural at Lot 12 is the third mural to be painted on that wall, and if CSUMB was to take it and try to save it, it will not be supported. However, CSUMB does plan to have a mural space visible from Inter-Garrison on the new Union.
CSUMB has done what they could in order to make space for events and club meetings, but with having a much bigger student union, there will not be much of an issue hosting club meetings.
This OSU is paid for by students. CSUMB is transitioning from a large campus full of old Army barracks, to buildings that will hold the growing number of CSUMB faculty, staff and students.