Fresno State students will have to wait a little longer to use the new Resnick Student Union. The university announced Friday that construction on the $60 million facility has been halted pending approval of construction plans by the state fire marshal’s office.
That means that the center won’t be ready to open this fall as previously projected, said Debbie Adishian-Astone, Fresno State’s vice president for administration and chief financial officer.
Such delays are not unusual, said university spokeswoman Lisa Boyles Bell. In this instance, she said, there are contributing “multiple factors including the state fire marshal’s workload, impacts relating to COVID-19 and recent wildfires, as well as the size and complexity of the project.”
Sandy Margullis, a supervisor in the fire marshal’s plans review office, said there have been four reviews of the construction plans, each resulting in questions that need to be addressed.
Comments from the fourth review are being sent out Friday afternoon to project officials, she said. “With every review, there have been fewer questions,” Margullis said.
In such a large structure, especially one with an open atrium that can impact smoke and fire spread, lengthy reviews are not unusual, she said.
Once the review is completed, the fire marshal’s office can sign off on the construction permit, Margullis said.
Tentative 2022 Opening
The Student Union’s opening date will likely be sometime in 2022 and will be rescheduled after construction resumes. The university is optimistic that construction will be able to resume sometime this spring, Adishian-Astone said.
About 25% of the construction, primarily the utility lines and concrete slab, has been completed, Bell said.
The work halted before the construction of the superstructure, including steel support and precast panels, she said.
The construction delay means more time before students start paying an extra $149 per semester to help finance the center’s construction and operations.
The Student Union fee, which students approved in March 2018, starts after the building is open.
Lining Up Construction Materials
To speed the construction process, the university’s facilities management office has been working with the general contractor, McCarthy Building Companies, to obtain construction materials that require a longer lead time and don’t depend on the state fire marshal’s approval so the project can keep moving forward.
The 84,000-square-foot structure is being built on the former site of the university’s outdoor amphitheater southeast of the University Student Union. The current student union will continue to provide programs and services after the new one opens.
Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of the Wonderful Company, pledged $10 million to the project that bears their name.
Construction began in November 2019, and the official groundbreaking ceremony was in February 2020.