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By Krista Gaines - Staff Reporter
Student Government hopes to make larger improvements to Building 6, the soccer field and community garden with next years' Capital Projects Committee.
The Capital Projects Committee oversees the budgeting of improvements to campus programs and groups.
The current capital projects fund was created back in the 2015/2016 academic year.
"That year's Student Government did a needs assessment with students, so they did a lot of surveys and getting a sense for what students wanted," Director of Center for Leadership and Service Iesha Valencia said.
Student Government during this time asked students what they believe should be changed, if the proper funding was allocated. From this process, Student Government was able to create a list of improvements and the money it would take to achieve that.
"From this list, we saw different spaces or additions to campus that students really wanted," Valencia said. "They wanted it so much that the Service and Activities budget funded it. From that came a budget of $1.175 million that was encumbered."
Each program the budget funds has a given due date. After the date, the funds are no longer accessible, unless requested and approved a second time.
"So, all that money was set aside to be used by a certain date," Valencia said. "Each capital project has a due date and we really worked on the ones expiring this year."
Valencia said the smaller capital projects were all expiring in 2018, whereas larger works had due dates as late as 2021.
"This year we were really focusing on the projects that were expiring at the end of this fiscal year, which is June 30, 2018," Valencia said. "So the ones that we really made progress on were the Building 6 entry plaza. So, that has not been completed but we have been meeting through the year working on that."
The Building 6 entry plaza has been allocated $125,000 and may include a covered area for students to avoid rainfall, but designs have not been finalized yet.
Student Government Vice President Mahlet Tiruneh said that the Building 6 renovation was making slow progress.
"The sunset clause expires at the end of the school year, so June 30," Tiruneh said. "But Toni Castro asked for an extension because there wasn't enough time to start working on that. It has been extended to next year, where they will be working more on the budget and contracts that will be required for the renovation."
Despite slow progress, the committee has completed their smaller projects.
"The committee has created an Umoja Center space, Puente space, LGBTQIA space, AANAPISI space and Veterans' Space," Valencia said. "The budget would have funded things like furniture, artwork pieces and resources the programs can use."
The programs mentioned above provide advising and educational resources for students.
Because of the committee's emphasis on expiring capital project funds, the larger projects, like Building 6, have been put off until next year.
"On the community garden we've made significant progress on but it is not completed. It's about halfway done and has been extended to next year," Valencia said. "All purchasing deadlines have passed, but these funds don't expire till 2021, so we have a lot of time. Because of that, we definitely emphasized more on enhancing the spaces that were expiring this year, like UMOJA and Puente."
Though not finished, the committee does have an understanding of the future soccer field being built.
"The plan is to get fake grass," Tiruneh said. "We will take out whatever is on the field now and put in the fake grass. It is easier to sustain and can be used throughout the year."
The soccer field has been allocated $650,000 for the project.
"Next year's committee will continue to work on contracts and supplies," Tiruneh said. "So those are the four for next year. There is no plan to add more, just continue to finish the original plans."
The overall budget is not expected to change next year, Valencia said.
"The budgeting has already been set for all these projects back in 2016. It is all public information," Valencia said. "So, with those, unless those areas decide they need more funds, because say cost of material goes up, then we would entertain the idea of changing that."