Since the California Lutheran University Board of Regents approved the construction of the Elton and Janice Gallegly Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement during Homecoming and Family Weekend, questions and concerns have been raised by the Cal Lutheran community regarding details of the construction.
On the administrative side, the next step toward construction is fundraising, said Kristine Calara, associate vice president of university advancement.
“We have raised almost all of the funds for the center, and are continuing to fundraise for the fellowships for the students and for the archives,” Calara said. “Overall, I have just heard a number of people relieved that we can move on now that it is finally approved and the planning process is officially in motion.”
However, staff of the Pearson Library are not in complete agreement about moving on, as they have standing concerns and requests that they feel should be considered.
Pearson Library Evening Circulation Supervisor Leanna Pagano, Assistant Director Lala Badal and Head of Undergraduate Instruction and Outreach Yvonne Wilber are among these staff members.
“There are a lot of things that we need to work out that I feel are not being addressed currently,” Pagano said. “It is time to start talking about how this will impact the library.”
Pagano said the library staff wants communication with the Board of Regents to be stronger so that the library staff is well informed and prepared for all potential questions.
Badal said one of the library staff’s main concerns is that the construction of the building will block the natural light from north campus that currently comes through the glass doors surrounding the north atrium.
“We found out the design plan after it was already decided, and learned that the area of the library that was specifically designed to capture light from north campus and bring it into our building would be blocked by a concrete wall,” Badal said. “The blocking of the natural light is a large frustration, as it is one of the main physical aspects of the library.”
The library staff is also concerned that the presence of Congressman Elton Gallegly’s Center will hurt the library’s bipartisan stance, according to a Letter to the Editor submitted to The Echo by the library staff.
“It takes courage to speak truth to power,” Wilber said, “But the library staff is especially disappointed that the board refused our request that no replica office be built in the center, and that construction would not destroy our outdoor views. We understand that Gallegly used his personal architect to design that space, and the library was not consulted on those designs.”
Both Pagano and Wilber stated that they, on behalf of the Pearson Library staff, appreciate and support the fellowships, archives and nonpartisan ideal of the center, but protest its location.
In response to concerns presented to the board prior to the vote, the Board of Regents issued a statement which said, “The Board affirms the Gallegly Center’s commitment to being a non-partisan center for students seeking meaningful ways to serve in the government and nonprofit arenas, and understands that those values will enhance and promote the inclusive and global vision of our strategic plan.”
The library staff is also concerned about the fact that construction will take place during finals exams.
“The timeline of construction will definitely negatively impact us,” Pagano said. “We might not be able to accommodate all students that come in to study because some spaces will be limited, but I speak on behalf of the rest of the staff when I say that we will try our very best.”
There will be a wall separating the construction area from study space, said Ryan Van Ommeren, associate vice president of planning and services for Cal Lutheran’s Facilities Operations and Planning office.
“Our mission with the institution is to build what we are told to build, and we are solely engaged in that process,” Van Ommeren said.
Anthony Adragna, capital projects manager of Cal Lutheran Facilities Operations and Planning, said he feels that the addition of the office replica to the library, “although currently a controversial issue,” will not have a large political impact.
“Since former Congressman Gallegly is retired and no longer involves himself in today’s politics, this will be a nice space for Cal Lutheran in the future, and I think that down the line more donors might be interested in helping Cal Lutheran with future buildings and endowments because of space like this,” Adragna said.
Adragna said the construction plans have not changed since the Board of Regents’ original approval meeting. As of now, they will be getting final contracts signed during the week of Nov. 6 and starting construction during the week of Nov. 13.
There is a projected maximum of a 12-week construction period, which schedules project completion for the end of January 2018.
*Article updated Nov. 14. Kristine Culara’s name was misspelled.