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New San Marcos Campus Unlikely to Open on Time

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State San Marcos administrators said Friday that they doubt that three of the four buildings on the new campus will open on time, after nearly three months of construction delays.

Al Amado, assistant vice president of physical planning for the university, said “we’re talking a 50-50 chance right now” of opening on time in August, 1992.

After a meeting Friday with executives from Lusardi Construction Co. and the bonding company, Reliance Surety, CSUSM administrators said it is unlikely that three of the four buildings scheduled to be part of the first phase of construction will be ready on time.

“I don’t want to bet against the construction crews, but I would have to admit that I am at the stage that I will be pleasantly surprised if the buildings are available on schedule in 1992,” said university President Bill Stacy, who as late as Monday had held out hope that the work could be completed on time.

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“We have begun to ask the campus very quietly and very bluntly what would we do with contingent plans if the campus is not ready for the fall,” Stacy said.

Craven Hall, which is planned to contain administrative and faculty offices, is scheduled to be completed before Academic 1--a group of three buildings that includes a lecture hall, laboratories and a student commons--which were to be part of this first phase, Amado said.

“Academic 1 is more questionable than Craven Hall is, and perhaps the lecture building will be completed on time, but the laboratory building will not,” Amado said.

Amado said the laboratory building, which will contain facilities for biology, chemistry and physics, takes an extra 60 days to prepare because of the special equipment that needs to be installed.

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Larry Cohen, founding professor in biology, said the delay will not be devastating, as long as it is not permanent.

“It will be an inconvenience, but we did not come to the university with the expectation that everything will be done perfectly,” Cohen said. “As long as it’s only a temporary setback, then it’s not a problem.”

Cohen said temporary labs that are being prepared “will be enough to carry us another year,” and his primary concern is getting the permanent facilities constructed properly.

The other two academic buildings, which will house lecture halls and a student commons, will open before the laboratory building and after Craven Hall, Amado said.

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Amado said he is unsure what the university will do if the buildings are unavailable until after the 1992 fall semester is under way in September. Options include phasing classes and offices into the new building and putting off occupying the buildings until spring, 1993.

“We want to hold off a few months and watch how construction goes before we get into any heavy, long-term contingency planning,” Amado said.

CSUSM, which opened in September, is holding classes in temporary facilities at a San Marcos business park, a few miles from the site of the new campus.

Construction on the campus stopped in mid-September after the original general contractor, Louetto Construction Co., failed to make payments to subcontractors, who then walked off the job.

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Although a new contractor for the project was found last month, construction has been stalled because C.W. Poss, the grading sub-contractor, and Reliance Surety are divided over how much Poss is owed for work already completed.

Poss executives said they plan to meet Monday with counterparts from Reliance to discuss the situation further.


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