New Price Center Skeleton Takes Shape

    The Price Center expansion has recently transitioned to the “”flying steel”” stage of construction – the latest phase of the massive upgrade to the 1989 facility – following the completion of concrete flooring in new areas of the building.

    Sanh Luong/Guardian
    The largest crane ever used at UCSD will install 1,400 steel beams as part of the massive renovation of the nearly 20-year-old Price Center.

    This current phase of the expansion is expected to be completed by the end of this month and will include the installation of 1,400 steel beams, according to interim University Centers Advisory Board Director Paul Terzino.

    “”This is a phase when we really see progress as the frame structure emerges from the basement, and the expansion takes shape,”” Terzino stated in an e-mail.

    The steel alone costs $8 million, which is included in the total $55 million pricetag of the new facility. Since the university received the original estimates, the cost has increased by approximately $5 million because of rising steel and concrete costs, Terzino stated.

    “”The biggest roadblock was funding the overage to the original budget,”” Terzino stated. “”Once the budget was finalized and the actual work started, there have been no major roadblocks.””

    To install the European-made steel beams, which weigh approximately 650 pounds per square foot, UCSD has employed the largest crane ever used on campus to lift and secure the 1,800 tons of steel necessary for completion of this phase of the project.

    The next major phases include constructing the roof, enclosing the building via external walls and mechanical, electrical and plumbing installation, which will be followed by construction of the internal walls and then finally the addition of finishing touches such as carpet and paint. The entire project should be completed by next January.

    The new Price Center will include an expanded food court, more student organization offices, the relocated Cross Cultural Center, new programming and Alumni Association offices, meet-ing spaces, a full-service grocery store, an expanded bookstore and more lounge space.

    The bookstore expansion will be completed this summer, after which the original store will undergo several months of remodeling.

    The upgraded facility will also feature a full-service bank, an Asian tea shop, a coffee shop, a nightclub, a second ballroom and late-night dining. According to Terzino, negotiations are pres-ently underway to establish late-night dining as soon as this quarter at one of the current Price Center eateries.

    Specific restaurant selection for the expanded food court will be completed late spring or early summer.

    The expansion was initiated in response to a growth in enrollment. The first Price Center was completed nearly two decades ago, at which time the student body numbered approximately 17,000. UCSD has since added 10,000 students and will level off at 30,000 in the coming years.

    Through a 2002 task force established by the university, students voted on a referendum that provided the funding for the expansion via an additional $39 quarterly fee.

    “”A building advisory committee composed of a majority of students was instrumental in developing the program,”” Terzino stated.

    At the Student Center, the final construction phase should be completed by September, according to Terzino.

    The last phase includes building a new structure that will house the General Store Co-op, a com-puter lounge and new facilities for Student-Run Television. In addition, a number of areas will be renovated, including Groundwork Books, part of the Food Co-op, KSDT and the UCSD Bike Shop. The Grove Caffe will gain indoor seating and A.S. Soft Reserves/Lecture Notes will be expanded.

    The primary phase was completed last February with the opening of the new Women’s Center, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, a study lounge and additional meeting rooms.

    “”Most of the landscape and hardscape will be replaced, and the infrastructure will be upgraded,”” Terzino stated.

    Construction of a new Student Center restaurant, Hi Thai, began last month and should be completed sometime in February, according to Terzino.

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