Construction Delays Hamper Sales for Student Center

    ON CAMPUS — As students new and old flock to UCSD for
    Welcome Week and the beginning of Fall Quarter, they can’t help but be
    frustrated by the continued University Centers construction. Unlike the
    subtle work being done on peripheral buildings, the current expansion
    and renovation of both Price Center and Student Center have created
    significant obstacles for students frequenting the areas.
    Specifically, Student Center construction has blocked many paths to and
    through facilities. With these walkways fenced off seemingly
    indefinitely, foot traffic has greatly decreased — and businesses in
    the area are feeling the sting. Though students familiar with the
    center are generally excited for the renovations to be completed, the
    question now is: When?
    Continued delays and apparent poor communication between contractors
    and university administrators have caused the project to lag. As a
    result, businesses and services in Student Center are nearly
    inaccessible, and students are left wandering what was once a
    comparatively compact and easy-to-navigate space, confusedly asking for
    directions.
    When the majority of students left campus last spring, they left a maze
    of fences blocking off portions of the Student Center. While summer
    work included the completion of the first stage of the center’s
    facelift, according to University Centers Director Paul Terzino,
    students are returning to find things sadly similar to the way they
    left them.
    According to Terzino, the first stage included renovations for the
    General Store Co-op, A.S. Soft Reserves, A.S. Lecture Notes, the UCSD
    Bike Shop, the Food Co-op, Student-Run Television and two unisex
    bathrooms. But Student Center inhabitants will notice that not only are
    some of these changes still incomplete, but that those that are
    complete were finished before summer even began.
    In addition to the completion of the unisex bathrooms, General Store
    and Bike Shop employees had already moved into their refurbished spaces
    before the end of Spring Quarter. Renovations to the Food Co-op’s
    kitchen and store room were completed over summer, but with the low
    store visibility and severely reduced foot traffic caused by the
    construction surrounding both of its entrances, the Co-op has taken
    some of the hardest financial hits, and is currently operating with a
    substantially limited stock. (In fact, a large chunk of remaining
    traffic these businesses have received is actually from frustrated
    students trying to create their own walkways through the shops.) And
    though the structure housing Soft Reserves, Lecture Notes and the new
    home of SRTV may be complete, access to these resources continues to be
    blocked off entirely.
    When asked about the limited Student Center access, both Terzino and
    Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life Gary R. Ratcliff said that
    though much of the area continues to be blocked, at least the central
    walkway would be opened up by Sept. 24, when undergraduates returned to
    campus for the start of Welcome Week.
    Unfortunately, this was not the case.
    Clearly there’s disconnect between the guys wearing hard hats and
    administrative deadlines and rhetoric. And even different contractors
    had different answers to the walkway question: Some indicated the
    walkway was to be finished Sept. 27 at the earliest. Still, others
    estimated the first week of October.
    Terzino also indicated that the second stage — which would open up the
    rest of the Student Center passageways — is near completion and should
    finish in October, with the final touches to the center wrapping up in
    December. But with October only a few short weeks away — and
    contractors gossiping that their load will continue well into the
    school year — its hard to imagine that the much-needed end to
    construction is really so near.
    Despite frustration with all the construction, employees and habitual
    visitors of the center remain optimistic about the renovations. The
    eventual plaza and reopening of walkways will hopefully bring more
    traffic into the space and the project’s completion will also mean a
    permanent spot for currently floating resources like SRTV and
    Groundwork Books. Unfortunately, everyday of delay is more and more
    financially crippling for the campus’ vibrant student-run businesses.
    The key now is to end the continual holdup plaguing the project and get the Student Center fully functioning and back in action.

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