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Cal State Fullerton Told: ‘You’re Good to Grow’

Times Staff Writer

Cal State Fullerton has received approval to nearly triple the number of dorm beds, increase campus parking 27%, construct a new College of Business and Economics building and put up a student recreation center.

“This master plan reflects both the reality and our vision for Cal State Fullerton,” campus President Milton A. Gordon said.

The state will foot the $90-million expense of construct- ing the business and economics building and another academic building of unspecified use.

The cost of two parking structures will be covered by a $40-a-semester increase in parking fees for students and management, to $99.

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The $28-million recreation center will be funded by a student-approved $20-a-semester increase in student union fees, in effect since fall 2001.

The rest of the roughly $250- million master plan approved by California State University trustees Nov. 19 would fund the parking, dorm and other projects.

Kim Apel, Cal State Fullerton’s facilities planner, said the 10-year construction timetable may be unrealistic.

“Until the past six months, all this planning was done in an atmosphere of high optimism,” he said.

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“Now we have a state budget crisis.”

Some new facilities, including the $57-million business and economics building, are contingent on a college construction bond measure, slated for the March ballot.

Cal State Fullerton has been among the fastest-growing of the 23 campuses that make up the California State University system.

This fall marked the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking enrollment at Fullerton.

As part of the new plan, Cal State Fullerton will formally raise its enrollment limit to the equivalent of 25,000 full-time students from the current 20,000, a figure that university trustees set in the early 1960s and which has been surpassed for years.

Trustees have allowed enrollment at the Fullerton campus and others to creep past their limits because of the pending expansion, said Paula Selleck, a Cal State Fullerton spokeswoman.

Enrollment this semester is 32,592, which, because some students attend part time, is the equivalent of 23,428 full-timers. The state provides funds to the university based on enrollment.

Cal State Fullerton officials predict continued enrollment growth but warn that the state budget crisis could result in campus cutbacks.

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Because Fullerton is a state university, its construction plans do not need approval from the city of Fullerton, but they must be OKd by several California agencies, including the state architect and fire marshal.

The larger of two new parking structures, for 2,500 vehicles, is under construction and expected to open next year. The second, to accommodate about 1,400 vehicles, will open in 2005.

Some existing parking will be lost to the new construction, resulting in a net increase of 2,500 badly needed parking spaces over the current 9,100 on campus.

“The most obvious planning problem on campus was parking,” Apel said.

With the enrollment increase, the university plans to build dorms for 1,600 more students.

The campus, which draws commuters for the most part, can now fit 840 students in dorms.

The dorms will be built on the eastern edge of cam- pus.

As part of the master plan, the Cal State University Fullerton Foundation, the school’s fund-raising arm, will build dorms for 390 foreign students and 150 apartments for faculty and staff along Nutwood Avenue.

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