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Cal State Fullerton Helps Cal State Bakersfield with Student Housing Project

Feb. 12, 2013

A Cal State Fullerton project manager has been working on campus and at Cal State Bakersfield in a partnership the likes of which may spread throughout the Cal State University system.

A Cal State Fullerton team effort that includes project management staff, contracts and procurement and accounting staff has been working since last fall with Bakersfield on a $42 million student housing project similar to CSUF's newest student housing.

"Bakersfield has two active, major construction projects and asked us if we could help them out, especially given the success of our last two housing projects," said Jay Bond, associate vice president for facilities planning and management.

"It may be the wave of the future because many of our campusesdo not have the size of construction projects that they had recently," added Bond. "I give Bakersfield a lot of credit for asking for help and seeking out the type of expertise we can bring to not only our own but to projects on other campuses."

Patrick Jacobs, CSU Bakersfield's assistant vice president of planning, development and operations, agreed. "This is a good way to go, unless you are at a campus big enough to support a staff large enough to support two major projects at the same time."

Jacobs said that as the project came to fruition, there was concern about handling two major capital projects on campus at the same time, given his his small staff — himself and one project manager.

That prompted a conversation with Bond, and the two administrators realized that a collaboration might be prudent and could work well for both campuses. Further discussions settled concerns and range of workload, with Fullerton helping not only on construction management, but with accounting and purchasing assistance, as well.

"We worked to reassure people on campus that this would not be Fullerton designing and constructing a building on our campus," said Jacobs. "I still have oversight. I have and continue to meet regularly with Cal State Fullerton's Steve Chamberlain, and, when he is on campus, he meets with our campus clients."

The idea of shared services is being discussed systemwide, said Elvyra San Juan, CSU assistant vice chancellor of capital planning, design and construction. To make the collaboration a reality, the Bakersfield campus drafted an agreement with Fullerton that could be modified for use at other campuses. The two campuses met with the Chancellor's Office to review the document and clarify the decision-making process on project expenditures and change orders.

"We recognized that with the reduction in funding for our capital program, we would be losing positions in this area," she explained, adding that such a shared services arrangement has been in place with a Chancellor's Office architect working as the Cal State Chico campus architect on all major design and construction projects. "We hate to lose such highly trained individuals, and so this type of arrangement utilizes the resources based at one campus to assist needs elsewhere in the system."

"Every campus has an ebb and flow of projects," said Chamberlain, who has served as a senior project manager on campus since 1997. "I thought it was a good fit, since we don't have to go out beyond the system. Right now, we, at Fullerton, don't have the kind of large capital project we have been building over the past 20 years, so it created a window of opportunity for us to help another campus. It was perfect timing."

Bakersfield's new student housing project, to be located on 7.5 acres on the northeast side of the campus, will provide 500 student beds within three four-story buildings, as well as a single-story support facility. The project is being designed and constructed to meet U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold equivalency. Under Bond and Chamberlain's leadership, CSUF met the bar to earn platinum LEED certification for its newest student housing complex, which opened in fall 2011.

Right now, the Bakersfield project is still in preliminary design, so Chamberlain has been going up to the Bakersfield campus about once a month. The rest of the time, he's working on smaller-scale projects for Fullerton. However, his time spent at the other campus will increase as the construction progresses there, Chamberlain explained.

"I find it very seamless other than the 2½-hour drive," he noted. "We expect to begin construction in July and anticipate completion in December 2014.

"It's been great to work with Bakersfield," he added. "They have been wonderful. I have great expectations for the success of this project."

"It's working out," said Jacobs. "It's been a smooth transition, and I'm very pleased with the relationship."

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

Tags:  Campus Updates