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Commons Area Expansion Underway

Commons Area Expansion Underway

The new Student Commons area will serve as the campus’ “city center.”

(August 8, 2005)

A $50 million expansion and renovation of the UC Riverside’s Commons area and Costo hall is underway with the recent demolition of the campus’ four-decade old Commons building.

The project, which will take about three years to complete, will help the campus accommodate the needs of a burgeoning campus population, said Danny Kim, assistant vice chancellor of student affairs.

The original building was constructed in 1967 when the campus had 3,000 students and was expanded in 1990 when campus enrollment was 7,000. UC Riverside now has more than 17,000 students, 2,000 staff members and more than 800 faculty members.

The project involves two main phases, said Kim. The first phase, which began in June, includes demolition of the existing Commons building, which housed a student lounge, study areas, game rooms, student government and Commons administrative offices and the International Lounge.

The old Commons will be replaced with a 142,000 square foot building that is intended to serve as the social and dining hub of UC Riverside, providing food service areas, wireless Internet access, a student lounge, meeting space and an 8,000-square-foot multi-purpose/entertainment area. A garden area will connect the new Student Commons with Costo Hall.

“We expect that this area will become the city center of the campus, a place where our students, faculty and staff want to be,” said Todd Wingate, director of the Student Commons and Cultural Events. “Whether it's music, a meeting space, or a quiet place there will be something for everyone.”

The Bonzai Bowl, Mama Mia’s, Souper Subs, the Campus Diner, the Campus Market and Bear Grounds will remain open until the Student Commons is completed in 2007.

The dining areas and student services offices will be relocated into the new building and the second phase will begin with the demolition of the remaining dining areas and cafeteria to make way for a dining courtyard. Renovation on Costo Hall will also begin in phase 2. The student services offices housed in this building will be rotated out to temporary quarters in the new main building.

The entire project is expected to be completed in 2008.

Students voted in May 2001 to increase their student activities fees by an average $90 per quarter to pay for the current project. Those fees will cover the cost of the construction and expansion of the Commons, as well as maintenance and building operations, said Kim.

Construction and expansion of a new Student Commons area is expected to be completed by 2008. <font size=2>(Photo credit: Kim Lane) </font>

Construction and expansion of a new Student Commons area is expected to be completed by 2008. (Photo credit: Kim Lane)

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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