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Campus Center project pushes for completion

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The renovation of the Sports Science Athletic Pavilion is nearing completion with new bleachers and brighter lighting. Complementing the Pavilion, the Frank and Nadine Johnson Family Plaza was also recently completed with its tiered levels and new fountain.

The La Verne community will be able to celebrate this milestone in the Campus Center Project when the University of La Verne officially dedicates the completed plaza to Board of Trustees member Nadine Johnson and her late husband, Frank, at 10 a.m. Oct. 14.

In recognition of their philanthropic pledge, the main circular wall of the new outdoor plaza will bear the Johnson name.

Ten percent of the entire project is complete and three-fifths of the design phase for the three-part building project is finished according to Roger Hardy, deputy vice president for campus development.

Included in its series of progress is the completion of the Sara and Michael Abraham Campus Center’s design development.

It is from continuing contributions made by generous donors that allowed the Campus Center Project to solidify.

The latest group of supporters was the Lewis Family, which recently pledged $500,000. This additional gift brought the project’s fund-raising campaign to $20.6 million toward the newly adjusted $26.1 million goal by the December 2007 deadline.

Trustee Michael Abraham and his wife, Sara, who are lead donors for the Sara and Michael Abraham Campus Center, offered to match new gifts to the Abraham Center with up to $2.5 million. There will also be a café in the Abraham Campus Center that will be named Barbara’s Bistro after Trustees’ Chair Ben Harris’ wife in appreciation of their $1 million pledge.

“There are approximately 255 donors to date,” said Jean Bjerke, vice president for university relations.

A response to the University’s proposed development is expected from the city of La Verne this November, before the University can submit building plans and obtain construction and demolition permits.

Following approval of the master plan, the University will begin stage two during the summer of 2007 and raze the Gym West Physical Education building and Old Gym in order to create space for the Abraham Campus Center, said director of facilities management Brian Worley.

Architects from the Gonzalez/Goodale firm are now drawing the construction blueprints for the Abraham Campus Center before it can be built. The construction phase is expected to begin in November 2007.

The Frank and Nadine Johnson Family Plaza will serve as the University’s newest outdoor gathering spot and as the link between the Abraham Campus Center and the renovated Pavilion.

The Campus Center Project’s goals are to attract quality students and garner a higher retention rate as the competition among colleges in Southern California soars.

The project prevails as the largest capital campaign at ULV’s 115-year history.

The campaign first attracted attention when the Board of Trustees approved an initial $16 million goal in November 2003.

The Campus Center Project is expected to be completed in spring 2009.

Len Ly can be reached at lly@ulv.edu.

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