Sacramento State student paper wins fight to stay on main campus

State Hornet staffers meet in the newsroom in the University Union in September 2016.
State Hornet staffers meet in the newsroom in the University Union in September 2016. State Hornet

Sacramento State’s student-run newspaper will stay on the main campus while its current office is renovated, avoiding a scenario in which staff would have been relocated a mile away, to the other side of Highway 50.

The State Hornet this week was offered a temporary 750-square-foot space in the former university bookstore warehouse. The newspaper staff will return to the University Union in 18 months to two years, after renovations on that building are complete, said Brigett Reilly, director of property services for University Enterprises Inc., a nonprofit arm of Sacramento State that owns the building.

“This is exactly the resolution we were hoping for,” said faculty adviser Stu VanAirsdale. “I’m excited and relieved that we are keeping The Hornet’s newsroom on campus. Del Norte Hall is a terrific location for our students to maximize their time at Sac State and do great work for their audience.”

In September, Hornet staff were told the newspaper would have to move to Folsom Hall south of Highway 50, a mile away from the student union in a building that formerly housed California State Teachers’ Retirement System offices. The university said if the student paper refused to move, it would forfeit its space in the University Union once the building is renovated.

Hornet editor Joel Boland and VanAirsdale dug in their heels, saying Folsom Hall is too far away for student reporters and photographers, who often must go to the newsroom to check out equipment before covering a news event.

Sacramento State plans to spend $53 million in student fees, reserves and other revenues on the University Union project. Construction will add 42,000 square feet to the 183,000-square-foot building, providing additional conference rooms, retail space, a Starbucks, study lounges and more indoor and outdoor seating.

Other University Union tenants, such as Associated Students Inc. offices, Event Services, student-run radio station KSSU and Unique, a nonprofit that brings entertainment to CSUS students, were given spaces elsewhere on the main campus.

University officials said The Hornet was put at the end of the line for a temporary space because it had not responded to an email asking it to commit to a space at the University Union after the remodel. VanAirsdale said he never received the message.

The final approval for The Hornet to move to Del Norte Hall came Monday – just 11 days before the deadline to move out of the University Union. The move to the new location will save The Hornet about $7,000 a year in rent. The student-fee funded newspaper paid $20,000 annually for the larger University Union space.

University Enterprises Inc., which also owns Del Norte Hall, is adding minor tenant improvements like carpet, heat and updated Internet connectivity to make the location more comfortable for the students, Reilly said. The Hornet could move to the new space by Jan. 20, the day it must vacate its office at the University Union, she said.

“It is adequate for producing the paper and website, and as a headquarters for meetings and storing equipment,” VanAirsdale said. “Our long-term vision remains to have a space where our full staff of 30 to 40 students per semester can convene for class sessions, multimedia production, speaker visits and more collaborative work.”

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

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