Student open forum with president reveals Cedar Hall will not be demolished­


Debbie Adishian-Astone, vice president for administration, said at a student open forum on Oct. 26 that the Cedar Hall dorms will no longer be demolished and a new dorm location will be built. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

By Manuel Hernandez

Students discussed student housing, campus updates and club sports during an open forum hosted by Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval on Oct. 26 at the Satellite Student Union (SSU).

Cedar Hall will no longer need to be demolished for low-cost student housing, according to Debbie Adishian-Astone, vice president for administration. 

Initial plans for a new low-cost housing complex were announced at an Associated Students Inc. (ASI) meeting in March, where it was indicated that the Cedar Hall dorm, as well as the grass fields west and east of the building, were to be demolished.­

Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval hosted a student open forum, where students shared their concerns and ideas for campus topics, at the Satellite Student Union on Oct. 26. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

“We’re going to move forward with [Fresno State’s affordable housing project]. We’re not going to need to demolish Cedar Hall like we thought, so we won’t be losing any inventory,” she said.

The university will be looking for a new location for the housing.

The project for new low-cost residence dorms started when Fresno State received a $35 million grant from the California State University (CSU) system in March, according to Adishian-Astone. She said the new dorms will be suite-style apartments and that rent will be at 50% area median-income (AMI) levels. 

Adishian-Astone also said the university is pushing back the timeline due to a “financial gap.” It is working with the CSU chancellor’s office to obtain additional funding, so students may not see anything for the next three to four years, she said.­

Debbie Adishian-Astone is the vice president for administration for Fresno State. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

“I just received confirmation that since they’re apartment style, [the new dorms] will be open to our student parents as well,” said Caroline Alvarez, the ASI president.

The student open forum was held at the SSU from 3-4 p.m., and Jiménez-Sandoval was also joined by Alvarez. 

There were few students present, with a majority of the SSU empty, so the event started later than scheduled. Alvarez opened the forum with updates about ongoing campus projects.

Alvarez also said that ASI currently is working with organizations like the Student Cupboard to raise more awareness of its free resources for students. 

ASI is also working with Athletics Directory Terry Tumey to provide a playing field for club sports like rugby, she said.

One student at the open forum, who said she’s also a player from the women’s rugby team, told Alvarez and Jiménez-Sandoval that the team’s current playing field, Vinland Park, is hazardous for the players. 

“It is historically a dangerous park. There’s a lot of crime, and that park is really crowded. Or we’re faced with paying about $5,000 to purchase lights with the men’s rugby club to practice on the [Fresno State Aquatics Field],” the student said.­

Caroline Alvarez, Associated Students Inc. president, co-hosted the student open forum alongside the university president. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)