Students can now use the new Student Success Center, located on upper campus in front of the bookstore, which opened early January after over a year of construction.
Construction on the Student Success Center began on Sept. 23, 2017 with a hard deadline of Dec. 22, 2018.
One of the biggest challenges manifested during demolition of the old building when the team found unforeseen, hazardous materials such as asbestos, according to Mark Zakhour, director of Design and Construction Services.
“When you open up the wall of a 1955 building, you don’t really know what you’re going to get,” Zakhour said.
The construction team also faced ground leveling and weather issues that caused delays, including heavy rainfall that occurred in the last six weeks.
Despite some delays, construction finished on time with only a few small things still left to do, according to Zakhour.
He projected that construction will be finished before the end of March. The project cost $44.9 million, and was funded by state bonds.
“The project was mainly revolved around the students,” said Zakhour. “We wanted to consolidate all of the student services throughout the campus into one building.”
Inside the building, students have access to a second-story lounge with electrical outlets and comfortable chairs to study in. This lounge area overlooks the free-speech lawn and the courtyard outside. Outside of the building, there is a courtyard equipped with tables, benches and WiFi.
The building is home to student services including the University Center for Undergraduate Advising, the Educational Opportunity Program and the Bob Murphy Access Center for disabled students.
The UCUA has been established in the building for about two weeks. Elaina Pugne, front desk administrative assistant for the UCUA, said that they “love” their new space because of its centralized location. Its previous location was in the Horn Center on lower campus.
Pugne said that the new center makes it much easier for students to have access to a variety of services they need. Before the move, the UCUA would have to refer students to services that were across the campus from them.
“Instead of having to refer students out, we are able to send them within the building,” Pugne said.
Pugne added that all of the services were specifically placed in the building to help guide Long Beach State students on the path to success. Zakhour echoed this statement and said that the services were all selected to increase graduation rates.
With the completion, the Student Success Center marks the beginning of many other projects on campus.
The upcoming projects include renovations to the microbiology building which will take place this summer and a new alumni center which will begin construction in fall 2019.
Perhaps the largest upcoming project is the student housing project that will include 470 beds, and is the first housing project for the school in 30 years, according to Zakhour. The project is set to break ground in July and projected to be finished in May 2021.
Watch our video coverage of the event!
VIDEO | Adam Pacheco