Renovated annex, new field boost campus life
Two new on-campus facilities will greet students returning to campus later this summer, providing much needed indoor and outdoor recreational space and enhancing student life.
The first is the Student Events Center, located in the newly renovated Annex, which will serve as a venue for large-scale events such as concerts, speakers and banquets. The second, the West Campus Green, provides outdoor space for students and other members of the campus community to play sports, socialize or relax.
More and more students come to the University from outside the Bay Area and live in the residence halls or in nearby neighborhoods, a trend that has increased the demand for places where they can meet and socialize.
"Both of these facilities are going to provide space that the campus has needed for years," said Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell. "The Annex will be the largest event space on campus, and the field, located right next to the residence halls, is already enhancing the sense of community we have been building at SF State."
The Annex is located on North State Drive and formerly housed many library services while the J. Paul Leonard Library building was renovated. The building has a seating capacity of 900 and a standing capacity of 1,200, and can be used for events such as concerts, lectures/talks, banquets and expositions. Student groups, academic departments and other University organizations will be able to reserve the Annex.
"We have limited venues for large-scale events, and some of the events that do take place have outgrown the existing spaces, so the Events Center will provide another option for student organizations and departments to host events in a different way," Greenwell said. "It's a really cool space."
The West Campus Green is located along Font Boulevard, adjacent to the Humanities building and the Village at Centennial Square on the former site of the San Francisco Unified School District's School of the Arts. The University purchased the property from the district and last year began demolishing the existing buildings and converting the space into a field, a process completed this spring.
"From the first day the fences came down there were students out there playing on it," Greenwell said, adding that students had often talked to him about the lack of outdoor space. The grass on the quad is often too soggy to use, thanks to San Francisco's famously foggy climate. To ensure that won't be a problem on the West Campus Green, the University installed artificial turf instead of planting sod, a decision that will also save 750,000 gallons of water a year. Lights have also been installed at the field so it can be used after dusk.
With more students living on and near campus, they are often looking for things to do after classes end, Greenwell said.
"We're really trying to provide more opportunities for students to be engaged, not just during the usual operating hours of the University but also into the evening, which is often when students are looking for ways to create a sense of community, connect with their peers or de-stress," he said.
The field is open for general use, though, like the Student Events Center, University organizations will be able to reserve the space for recreation events or activities. The Office of the Dean of Students is developing policies and procedures for reserving both spaces.
"This is an exciting time for students," he said. "There's a different kind of energy out there. We have students starting to get more engaged on campus, and we want to provide them with opportunities to have out-of-the-classroom experiences."