By Christian Arrendondo and Taylor Boomsma
The construction process on the new Rose Float Lab and Design Complex has yet to begin, despite initial plans to break ground in mid-2018.
While the budget has exceeded the original budget of $3.7 million, increasing to $4.2 million, plans still need approval before construction can begin.
According to Krista Spangler, director of development for the Division of Student Affairs, one more agency needs to approve the plans before the university can move forward to the next step, which will be the bidding process for construction companies.
If approved, the bidding process should begin toward the end of February or the beginning of March.
The new Rose Float Lab is set to be constructed on a third of an acre on the northeastern side of campus, near Kellogg Drive and the I-10 freeway. When completed, it should provide more equipment and space than the current aging lab, which is off South Campus Drive.
Several organizations and donors, such as the Tournament of Roses and Ahmanson Foundation, as well as farmer and businessman Don Huntley, have gifted funds toward the construction of the new lab.
Spangler said that of the $4.2 million committed to the lab, approximately $1.9 million will be coming from the student success fee over a span of 10 years. According to the university’s website, the fee is intended to provide financial support to areas that impact student retention and graduation.
Students who work in the current lab agreed that it’s ready to be replaced.
“Sometimes when it rains, our area floods, so we have to clean up or it becomes a safety hazard,” said Orlando Cabrera, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student and former assistant design chair.
Caitlin Yaneza, a third-year psychology student and former design team member, pointed out some of the flaws and necessities in the current lab.
“There is only one bathroom that everyone shares, certain outlets are out of order and there are sometimes not enough welders for everyone who needs them,” Yaneza said.
Ingrid de Oca, a fifth-year nutrition student and former club vice president, said she supported the construction of a new lab.
“The upcoming lab will be bigger, so the lab will accommodate both colleges who work on the Rose float,” de Oca said.
The new, one-third acre site will provide larger facilities, an electric and hydraulic shop and a large courtyard for float construction.
Although the new lab will be a vast improvement over the present one when it finally gets built, students said some things will be missed from the current one.
“Alumni and students have left markings and tags across the lab that hold memories to them.” Cabrera said. “With the upcoming lab, those stamps of memories will be gone and we can’t get that back.”
With the rose float lab a year away from opening, students will get to work more effectively and safely on future floats.
Construction is expected to begin in April and the projected move-in year is 2020.
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