The California State University Board of Trustees on May 20 approved a $3.7 billion master plan of construction and modernize for the campus of Sacramento State over the next 20 years.

The Master Plan is a comprehensive vision for academic and administrative development with more than 1.3 million sq-ft of new construction, including state-of-the-art science and engineering buildings, a performing arts center, a student events center and an administrative/student services center. Also included are major expansions to the University Union, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this fall, and The WELL, the popular recreation and wellness center that opened in 2010.

School President Alexander Gonzalez said in a news release that the plan is "intended to enrich and maintain the campus as an accessible, sustainable, safe and vibrant environment for learning, living, work and recreation to better serve our students, faculty, staff and visitors."

The main points of the plan include improving intra-campus connectivity and connectivity with the surrounding community; optimizing facilities to help implement the University’s academic Strategic Plan; using architectural and landscape designs that incorporate best practices in sustainability and water conservation; and showcasing and maximizing engagement with the American River.

The first project in the plan is a $54.9-million residence hall that is set to break ground this summer. Located alongside the American River, the 416-bed hall is scheduled to complete and welcome the first group of students in the Fall 2017 semester.

The four-story structure was designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz of San Francisco, while the contractor is Sacramento-based Otto Construction, which boasts two project team members - Rick McVey, vice president for preconstruction; and project manager Melissa Barrenchea - that are former Sac State students.  

Going up alongside the river levee on a parking lot south of Desmond Hall, the new residence hall, which is being called Student Housing Phase II, will join the existing American River Courtyard as centerpieces of the University’s newly named North Housing Village. The 126,000-sq-ft project will feature a shady interior courtyard; a rooftop terrace and gathering space with outdoor views of the American River and the nearby Guy West and H Street bridges.

Victor Takahashi, Sacramento State’s director of facilities, planning and construction, told me that they are trying out a construction-delivery method that is new to the California State University. "We are using a collaborative design-build approach and are partnering with a design build team to develop a project scope that meets our budget,” he said.

Additional project features include a large multipurpose room with a communal kitchen; a classroom; a computer lab; recreation and laundry facilities; a fitness center; and administrative and campus support offices. The new, earth tone-colored residence hall will also boast one faculty apartment and two staff apartments. Planned to meet LEED Gold, the project site includes drought-tolerant plants and reclaimed water for irrigation and bicycle parking.

Another development coming to the college this summer is a $2.8-million sustainability project that will install a network of low-impact development (LID) best-management practices (BMPs) to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff on the nearby American River. Among the BMPs are bioretention planters, rain gardens and compost-amended bioswales that will collect, treat and infiltrate urban stormwater runoff. 

In addition to removing pollutants, the BMPs will reduce the volume of runoff discharged into the river, thus preventing erosion and replenishing the campus groundwater supplies used for irrigation. This work will be handled by multiple contractors, including Otto Construction; Staples Construction of Ventura, CA; and Sacramento-based Fregoso Builders.