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Davis, California

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Student-initiated community center to emerge on campus

Come May 2012, a nearly decade-long vision of a central campus hub for students from all UC Davis communities will become a reality.

The Student Community Center, created by students in a 2002 initiative, will be located at the corner of California Avenue and Hutchison Drive on the UC Davis campus, across the street from Chemistry 194. The location currently houses a number of small temporary buildings.

The Center will house the Cross Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, the Student Recruitment and Retention Center, and several study lounges, student workrooms, offices, a media lab, a café, computer labs and an outdoor deck.

“The campus did a really good job partnering with the diversity groups to make this a space for everyone,” said Catherine Buscaglia, project manager with UC Davis Design and Construction Management. “[The project] will open up the core of campus, serving as a student life promenade.”

Students drafted the Principles of Community initiative in 2002 proposing the creation of a student community center uniting many groups on campus in one locality.

“The vision was to create a facility for student life community centers that currently have fragmented, poor or inadequate space to better integrate their service and resources for students,” said Griselda Castro, assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, in an e-mail interview.

The building will cost $30.4 million to construct and will have about 26,000 square feet of space. The 2002 initiative called for funding from student fees to help pay for the center, amounting to 13 dollars per quarter for each undergraduate student, beginning in fall 2004.

Campus communities expressed excitement about the new space, as many have been involved with the planning process for several years.

“The Student Community Center will be a wonderful opportunity for all of the future tenants to come together and truly build a united community on this campus,” said Leha Hawkins, program supervisor at the SRRC, in an e-mail interview.

Sheri Atkinson, director of the LGBTRC, echoed Hawkins’ sentiment.

“By being housed in closer proximity to the CCC and the SRRC, we will be able to continue the important work that we do around the intersection of identities and social justice to build a better campus for everyone,” Atkinson said.

Hawkins also hopes that the new center will bring more attention and publicity to the SRRC, which offers peer mentoring, tutoring, leadership retreats and other student programs.

“The students of the SRRC do feel that the university has not recognized the magnitude and impact of the work they do,” she said. “Despite all of our positive accomplishments, we still struggle to find space to do this work, are faced with outrageous costs to hold events on our very own campus and have students know about the center.”

In addition to providing a new home to campus groups, the Student Community Center will serve as a haven to all groups on the UCD campus.

The 28,000 square foot center is designed to feature multiple study areas, including a deck on the building’s second story. Designers created the space as a casual, more informal setting where students will be able to eat, drink and use their laptops, Buscaglia explained.

Builders also hope the center’s location between the Silo and Shields Library will attract students walking through one of campus’s busiest areas.

Demolition on the temporary classrooms currently housed on the project’s site is set to begin after July 4, though a groundbreaking ceremony for the center is scheduled for June 3.

MEGAN MURPHY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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