Three New Vendors Fill the Rest of Price Center East

Three years after the opening of Price Center East,  its empty spaces are finally occupied by Chase Bank, Kaplan Prep Center and The Zone, a wellness studio sponsored by the UCSD Health and Services Department.

Chase Bank, located next to Sunshine Market, and Kaplan Test Center, located near Library Walk, opened at the start of Fall Quarter on Sept. 20. The Zone opened on Sept. 24.

The Zone, the third of the new spaces, is an extension of the UCSD Wellness Cluster. It offers free healthy cooking demonstrations, yoga classes, fitness workshops and other services. The Zone can be found next to Jamba Juice in the plaza of the Price Center.

Its daily schedule is based on the concept of “snack-sized” programming because each program typically runs less than an hour. All events are drop-in and require no contractual agreements.

Zone programming intern Sarah Raifsnider said The Zone is an effective way to sample wellness resources without having to commit to quarter-long recreation classes.

“For instance, we have two types of yoga every week,” Raifsnider said. “They’re only a half an hour long, so it’s a good way to try yoga… without having to commit to a quarter long class. [But] if you decide you like it, we can provide you with the resources to get into a recreation class [through] papers and flyers from the Wellness Cluster in our resource center.”

The integration of these new Price Center fixtures is a response to the most popular suggestions in a survey issued by the Department of Student Life five years ago, which asked undergraduate students what services or vendors they would like to see installed on campus.

“[Because] it takes a lot of time and money to put on a survey, we usually use past surveys,” University Centers Advisory Board Chair Nicole Metildi said. “We also have six college representatives, so they’re supposed to go to their constituencies to ask what the general feeling is about it.”

Once this information was collected, University Centers Advisory Board, — which University Centers Director Paul Terzino called a “sounding board” for student opinion — investigated the proposals in greater detail to choose and approve vendors that would fit into Price Center’s vacant lots.

When UCAB approves a concept, University Centers issues a Request for Proposal out to the public, at which point interested vendors who offer the service in question can reply to be considered by UCAB to fill in a vacant space.

A hair salon, which was included in University Center officials’ plans for Price Center East following its May 2008 grand opening, is currently in the process of being approved for an RFP.

“The hair salon was already approved by a committee of the UCAB,” Terzino said. “We’ll probably issue the RFP for the hair salon this quarter, hopefully sometime in November or within the next two months. We hope to have it open by the beginning of Fall Quarter 2011.”

Additionally, whereas The Zone approached UCAB 12 months ago, the process towards constructing and opening new businesses not associated with the campus can take between 18 to 24 months.

Terzino said the choice to place a test center on campus was made by UCAB about 18 months ago, based on survey results and the observation that many undergraduates seek test preparation services to gain a competitive edge on exams like the LSAT or the MCAT.

As far back as 2006, it was decided that a bank would fill one of the spaces.

Terzino said choosing the particular banking corporation and testing center was a decision made by a committee of UCAB, who voted for Chase and Kaplan over other similar vendors willing to accept the vacant lots.

In addition to changes in Price Center, Shogun, the Japanese restaurant located on the second floor, will be expanding by renovating a portion of its location into “Noodle Café,” an extension UCAB offices hope will be open to the public in late October.

Terzino also said University Centers considered replacing one of the vacant lots with a new coffee shop in Price Center East. However, they decided to renovate Espresso Roma because there are already many coffee vendors on campus.

A store called “Triton Outfitters,” where students can find apparel branded by students on campus, is set to claim the space next to Sun God Lounge on the second level of Price Center.

Vendors gain revenue from the UCSD student body. This revenue pays their rent for the tenant spaces, and these bills contribute to the University Centers’ operation and maintenance costs, which are funded by the University Center fees all students pay.

Less vendors equate to less rent collected from vendors, a situation that would force University Centers to raise student fees.

“All students pay University Center fees, which help with the maintenance of University Center buildings,” Metildi said. “That’s why it’s good for PC to have vendors. Not only do vendors make [Price Center] a good place to visit, the rent they pay helps University Centers not have to raise University Center fees.”

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