CSU, News

Conoley advocates for Fine Arts building improvements and funding

Long Beach State president Jane Close Conoley urged the CSU Board of Trustees to fund the outdated buildings on campus including the Fine Arts buildings during Wednesday’s meeting.

Fine Arts students organized a walk out last week to direct administration’s attention to the lack of air conditioning in their buildings. The lack of air-conditioning became a prevalent issue during the massive heat wave in Southern California.

Conoley addressed the walk out during the Board of Trustees meeting and echoed student concerns over the outdated buildings in need of modern accommodations and improvements.

“More than half of our facilities are greater than a half a century old at the Beach and have seen no major capital renewal investment,” Conoley said. “We have four institutional state buildings built in the 1950s that constitute our school of the arts, and neither modernized mechanical systems nor air conditioning have been added to the buildings.”

The CSULB president said faculty and students have told her about these issues numerous times and pointed out that community colleges were better equipped.

“We really need immediate and meaningful investment in our physical campuses and infrastructure that will lower operating costs and enhance students’ educational experience and strengthen California State University’s reputation,” Conoley said.

Other CSU campuses including Northridge State presented similar issues with their campus infrastructure. CSUN president Erika Beck said that Sierra Hall, the university’s largest academic building, lacked modern safety accommodations and reduced classroom sizes.

“[Sierra Hall] lacks the layout, electrical capacity and access required to facilitate modern pedagogy in the classrooms,” Beck said. “That’s because it was constructed in 1963, and designed around the concept of passive learning, with a faculty member lecturing to students with an overall content, mastery objective.”

Approximately 40,000 students study at Sierra Hall and they deserve safe campus facilities, said Beck.

“If we are committed to erasing equity gaps in perpetuity, we need to provide the physical infrastructure that facilitates student success,” Beck said. “Antiquated spaces designed to six decades ago just don’t facilitate that kind of learning.”

The CSU Committee on Campus Planning, Buildings and Grounds will present the Board of Trustees with an updated priority list for the 2023-2024 Infrastructure Improvements Program Project list in November for consideration.

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