Fresno State is proposing a new performing arts center as its latest addition to campus, joining a string of planned renovations.
President Joseph Castro announced plans for the new building, which would host theater, dance and musical performances, at his State of the University address on Tuesday.
While the cost and schedule are still unclear, Castro has assigned a newly established Commission on the Future of Arts and Humanities to develop the idea.
Castro said the new building would provide a more intimate space than the Save Mart Center – often used for concerts and other events – and could attract national and international acts.
If approved, the new building would be located on Shaw Avenue, between Cedar and Maple avenues, alongside a new residential housing facility that’s also in the works, and potentially a new student union. Fresno State students will vote in March on whether they want to build a new student union, which would require a fee increase.
“We don’t have anything quite like that right now at Fresno State. Those three buildings together will transform the face of Shaw Avenue for Fresno State, and I think it will be very exciting for our students,” Castro said. “It will enhance the teaching and learning environment.”
Castro said he predicts a combination of public and private sources will pay for the new performing arts center, but said it’s too soon to determine a price.
Also at Tuesday’s State of the University address, Castro focused on Fresno State’s economic impact on the central San Joaquin Valley.
According to a new university report, Fresno State has a $716 million regional economic impact and is one of the largest employers in the Valley.
“For every single dollar invested by the state, Fresno State returns $7 to our region,” Castro said. “Whether it is through the development of leaders, the results of our research and academic discoveries, or through our economic engine, Fresno State is making a vital difference in ways that matter for our region.”
Castro also boasted the university’s “financial sensitivity” to students. Fresno State charges the least amount of tuition and fees of any California State University, and has an average loan indebtedness of $18,000. The average college graduate owes more than $30,000 in student loans.
Fresno State also recently launched its DISCOVERe program, which loans students tablets for free, cutting textbook costs by more than 70 percent.
“This is one of the best values in higher education in the entire nation,” Castro said. “Our university, like our region, is blessed with almost unlimited potential.”