CSUB campus undergoes construction and renovation projects

Julisa Muñoz, Marketing Manager

List of projects and highlights of Major Capital Projects. Graphic by Julisa Muñoz / The Runner.

California State University, Bakersfield is undergoing both minor and major construction, as well as renovations. 

Joseph Hedges, associate vice president ofcapital and facilities management services, said that all CSUs have a maintenance backlog set for things that should be fixed of over $4 billion across all the campuses. CSUB has a piece of that budget.  

Hedges said that what is most important to him is the first impression of the campus. Hedges said students are the top priority. He wants them to feel proud of the school they are attending. Hedges said that the goal is for CSUB to be a place that students, staff, faculty, and alumni can have pride in and see as a place that the campus community all own. 

Psychology major and junior Celeste Ramirez said, “I think the campus is beautiful. I do in fact enjoy the new Humanities building. It looks amazing, aesthetically pleasing.”  

This is Ramirez’s first semester on campus since transferring. 

Psychology major and sophomore Myles Karr chimed in to say, “I think all the buildings look good, but the desks in DDH are horrible.”  

Ramirez and Karr added that the ongoing campus construction and renovations have not negatively impacted their on-campus experience.  

Hedges said he wants “to make this campus a place you want to be, not a place that you have to be. A home away from home, a kind of refuge. A place that’s safe, that the students see themselves in. They just want to be here.” 

CSUB has plans for an $83 million project: the Engineering and Innovation Building. It is the largest project the campus has seen since the campus was originally built. Joseph Hedges explained that the new building will go in the empty grass area between Science III and the Health Services Center.  

According to Hedges, the Student Union expansion project was going to be an “all in one go project,” but because there is money and immediate need, there are going to be some parts of the renovations started. There are plans to add a pantry and Basic-Needs facility by the greenhouses. There are also plans to reserve a spot for a demonstration kitchen and edible landscaping that will tie into the Alumni park. 

Joseph Hedges described the planned renovations to the quad as astronomical. 

Hedges said, “That’s the original campus, that’s the heritage.”  

CSUB has plans to renovate the buildings in the quad area, including the Classroom Building, Lecture Building, and CSUB Administration East, and change the surrounding landscaping in the area to be more sustainable. 

“That really, to me, should be one of the focal gathering points,” said Hedges. 

The flow of the campus is kept in mind when designing new renovations or additions. It’s a major part of deciding on renovations, especially for those who live on campus. Hedges expressed that he hoped to create a center of community.  

“I envision a place that will have outdoor gathering. A place that you want to come [to], that you want to sit [at],” said Hedges. 

“We want to start a transformation of the campus,” said Hedges. “We need to start figuring out ways that we can start changing some of the landscaping.”  

Hedges said he would like to change the landscaping to more sustainable options and add more gathering areas for students. 

Hedges said CSUB wants to replace existing trees for more native trees, like California Oaks, because the current sequoias on campus are dying due to the school water system not being able to water them properly. 

“My mission is to make sure the students are the focal point of this campus,” said Hedges. 

Hedges wants the students’ input as the university continues to make changes. 

Hedges said that the students’ funds are going into renovations like the planned Student Recreational Center Aquatic Center. So, the facilities team wants to be sure it represents the students. 

“When you plan a new building, you look at what best supports the needs of the campus,” said Hedges. 

The priority of a project also depends on what needs fixing right away, like the gas leaks of Sept. 29 and Oct. 13. Hedges said projects like these need to be attended to right away for the safety of the students, staff, and faculty on campus.  

Hedges and his team are always thinking of how to use facilities to evolve the campus.  

“We’re a growing campus and more space is needed, so there is a need for planning for expansions,” Hedges said. 

According to Hedges, when planning for a renovation or the construction of a new building, CSUB wants to be able to set the campus apart from a community college. 

Hedges said it is important to set architectural standards, but it is also a matter of resources. When planning a project, Hedges and the facilities management team start with an idea and do parametric estimating. That allows the facilities management team to come up with a general number for cost. From there, they go out and do a design and refine estimates. Many things go into the budget, including the oversight of the construction and furnishing, to make a complete and usable facility. 

Hedges is always on the move, looking for things that need fixing. He feels proud when he walks into the bathrooms and classrooms and sees just how clean they are. He recognized the effort and professionalism that the janitors put in. These are small things, but they are the things that students experience the most, said Hedges.  

“The biggest praise that I get is when you don’t complain. I take that as an accolade. I know that when I get complaints, something’s wrong,” said Hedges. 

Hedges encourages students to report any issues they see, whether it is something minor like a dirty bathroom or something more serious like a leak. To report, go to https://csub.service-now.com, click on Facilities Service Catalog, then click on the appropriate option.