September 22, 2003 Vol. VIII, No. 3

Sierra Center Opens to Campus and Community in October

Coffee House, Indoor/Outdoor Dining, Lounge Areas Provide University with Informal Place to Congregate

The spacious new Sierra Center will open its doors to the Cal State Northridge community at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, bringing to the west side of the campus an inviting array of food choices and a pleasant atmosphere in which to eat, meet, chat or study.

Located west of Jerome Richfield Hall, the 32,000-square-foot University Corporation project will offer indoor and outdoor seating for close to 600 people, comfortable lounge areas, work/study counters with plugs for laptop computers, a ground floor Wells Fargo ATM, a terrace and patios for al fresco dining, a roomy conference room, and two elevators connecting Jerome Richfield Hall to the center on all of its three floors.

Breakfast in the Marketplace, the 115-seat ground floor food court, starts at 7 a.m. at the Pizzazz restaurant, where early bird choices from scrambled eggs to breakfast burritos will be served.

On the west side of the complex, the full-service Freudian Sip coffee house also will open at 7 a.m. Those in search of a place to sit, sip and read their morning papers will find it at the 45-seat coffee house, which will sell its "signature" cinnamon rolls along with croissants, pastries, bagels, biscotti, coffees, teas and assorted beverages.

Other Marketplace restaurants will open at 10:30 a.m. for lunch. Bamboo Terrace will serve fare with an Asian flavor, including sushi, miso soup, noodles, and entrees such as kung pao chicken. Customers who want made-to-order deli favorites can order at the black and white-tiled Checkers Deli.

Pizzazz closes briefly after breakfast but will open again for the lunch crowd, dishing up Mediterranean fare such as pasta and pizza baked in the restaurant's stone oven.

"One of the University Corporation's objectives was to provide a pleasurable sit-down dining experience along with an informal place for the campus community to congregate," said Dave Nirenberg, director of commercial services for the corporation. The center replaces the Roof, a Sierra Hall dining/gathering area that closed after the 1994 earthquake.

In a sense, the center's food offerings represent home cooking, Cal State Northridge-style. "All the food concepts were developed by the University Corporation," said Nirenberg. "This provides a unique flavor and expectation for our customers."

Restaurants will be open Mondays through Thursdays until 9 p.m., and on Fridays until 5 p.m. On Saturdays, only Freudian Sip will be open, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Sierra Center's doors will close at 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, at 6 p.m. on Fridays, at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and all day on Sundays. Times are subject to change.

Outside the center, Australian willows, oaks and a maturing stand of ornamental pear trees shape the landscape.

"Every attempt was made to save as many trees as possible,"said Rick Evans, University Corporation administrative services manager and owner's representative. "Their shade and beauty enhance the Sierra Center experience."

The bright yellow umbrella and tree-shaded seating adjacent Etiwanda Avenue, intended for the duration of construction, will remain as a permanent feature of the center's landscape design.

All of Sierra Center will be part of the university's wireless connection, but the second floor Cyber Area also will boast six iMac computers and 16 areas in which users can plug in their computers.

Natural light from west and north floods the 75-seat University Corporation Special Events Room, whose second floor corner space features a retractable screen and Ethernet connection. Large-screen television lounges and a terrace with seating for 100 are other second floor features. On the third floor are the offices of the University Corporation.

The task of blending the center's exterior appearance with that of Richfield Hall fell to Froehlich, Kow and Gong Architects, Inc. General contractor was Ford Construction E.C., and kitchen contractor was TriMark Raygal. The center's pumpkin, green and white interiors were the work of Karen Moncrief of R.W. Smith and Company.

Partially funded by system wide revenue bonds, the project's total $9.7 million cost includes construction, design, engineering, equipment, fixtures, systems and furniture.

For more information about the Sierra Center, visit the University Corporation Web site at

@csun | September 22, 2003 issue
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