December 10, 2001 Vol. VI, No. 8

Campus Food Service Options to Expand with Sierra Center

CSU Trustees Approve Project, Clearing Way for Summer 2002 Construction Start

The west side of the Cal State Northridge campus soon will have restored dining facilities through the development of the $7.8 million Sierra Center project, which is due to start construction this summer as an extension of the Sierra complex of buildings.

The Board of Trustees of the California State University system approved schematic designs of the University Corporation project in July. The decision cleared the way for the new building, which will include an outdoor dining area around its perimeter and an outdoor terrace dining area on the second floor.

The planned three-story, 30,446-square-foot building will be located immediately west of Jerome Richfield Hall. The first two floors will be devoted to food service and the third floor will house University Corporation offices.

Many in the campus community fondly remember the Roof dining area, which was closed after the 1994 earthquake. The Sierra Center will restore much needed dining to the west side of campus, replace indoor and outdoor seating lost in the earthquake, and recreate a gathering place for students, faculty and staff.

The University Corporation has previewed the Sierra Center plans with the Faculty Senate and other campus groups. The planned food services, the unique design of the building with its exterior curve, and the indoor/outdoor seating have been well received. The Sierra Center will seat 370 indoors and over 200 outdoors.

Three distinct, made-to-order food concepts will be housed on the first floor of Sierra Center:

For those in a hurry, there will be supermarket-style merchandise cases stocked with "grab & go" items such as packaged entrees, sushi, sandwiches, fresh salads, health foods and desserts.

There will be a café-bakery serving items baked on-site, a full complement of traditional and blended coffees, and grab & go salads and panini sandwiches.

The second floor, a loft area with decking, will serve as another informal student/faculty meeting place. It will include a cyber area with computers and laptop plug and play stations; a TV lounge; balcony seating, outdoor terrace seating; and a meeting room.

Retaining existing trees on the project site has been a top planning priority. When completed, the Sierra Center will be surrounded by Sierra courtyard trees, enhancing the structure's façade.

Related to the Sierra Center project is the Sierra Hall landscape project. The goal of that project is to beautify the lawn area directly west of Sierra Hall with improved landscape and hardscape. The landscape project will be completed several months prior to breaking ground on the Sierra Center.

The work will enhance the Sierra complex area by replacing much of the courtyard, which will be unavailable during Sierra Center construction. The Sierra South landscape design includes 25 new trees, primarily Australian willows and oaks.

In response to faculty input regarding shade, the University Corporation has committed to placing umbrella tables on the site until the tree canopies fully develop. The current catering trucks that have been providing food services to the area will remain nearby during the construction period.

Construction of the Sierra Center should begin in summer 2002, with the expected opening in fall 2003. To learn more about the Sierra Center, visit the University Corporation web site at

@csun | December 10, 2001 issue
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