Sacramento State Appoints Design-Build Team of Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture and McCarthy Building Companies to Expand University Union

July 19, 2016

Campus adding three-story, 71,000-square-foot expansion and renovation to north side of building.


(SACRAMENTO, CA) – California State University, Sacramento is expanding the north face of the University Union on campus. Construction of the $51 million project is expected to start in first quarter of 2017 and is slated to be completed August 2018. Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture (D+B) is the architect, and McCarthy Building Companies Inc. is the design-build contractor hired to complete the renovation and expansion.

Kristopher Barkley, AIA, design director of D+B and the project’s designer, said, “Historically the Union has been the social hub of the university. This new expansion continues that activation, while providing enhanced services for more students.”

Consistent with the “tree canopy” theme defined in the campus Master Plan, “the building expansion makes a strong architectural statement through the incorporation of forms and materials that relate to the mature vegetation of the campus,” he said. The campus currently has over 3,500 trees and is designated as a Tree Campus USA.

Several amenities will be incorporated into the design to accommodate rapidly changing technology and the need for more versatile spaces. The new expansion will also provide improvements to life safety and seismic resistance.

The project is being delivered under the California State University’s innovative Collaborative Design-Build method, which engages stakeholders in design workshops, ensuring University staff and student expectations are captured. “We want to make this expansion as accessible and beneficial as possible to the students and daily users of the facility. Since beginning this project, we have sought the input of students and the campus community, and used their feedback as a guiding element in the design of the expansion. We intend to maintain that transparent and open dialog throughout the design and construction process.”  said Bill Olmsted, Associate Executive Director of Union Well Inc., at Sacramento State. Construction will be phased to have the least impact on existing operations in this very active area of campus.

New Types of Meeting Spaces

The design solution takes advantage of plans to develop a new quad to the north, created to provide an active outdoor space for students. By creating a permeable and light-filled north face, the project will be a beacon for student life. The new addition also substantially increases the number of meeting spaces to provide enhanced services for student groups and other organizations.

Expanded Retail

The expansion also will include a new premium coffee venue, as well as provides updated infrastructure for existing restaurants. The Peak Adventures sporting goods store, currently located at The WELL at Sacramento State, will be returning to a new space in the Union once the expansion is complete.

Sustainability Features

Although the university is not currently planning to seek certification, the new addition is being designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification rating of Gold. To maximize human health and productivity within the building, the design will emphasize indoor environmental qualities with various sustainability measures such as the incorporation of daylight, low-emitting materials, and air quality management plans.

The original University Union has undergone a number of renovations and expansions over the years. The original building was built in 1975. Expansions were completed in 1990, 1992, 1998, and 2005 to accommodate the growing student population on campus. In 2012, remodels to Good Eats, Round Table Pizza, and Epicure restaurants, and a renovation to the Hornet’s Nest dining area were completed by Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture.

Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture
Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, founded in ­1950 in Sacramento, CA, with an office in San Francisco, is a 38-person firm headquartered in the California capital. The firm serves corporate, public, and institutional markets with solutions achieved through collaboration and innovation. Committed to a sustainable future, D+B brings expertise in architecture, master planning, interiors, graphic design, and construction services. Recently completed projects include The Shop at VSP Global, CLARA Midtown – E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts at Fremont School, and the Yolo County Woodland Superior Courthouse.

California State University, Sacramento
Founded in 1947, Sacramento State, also known as Sac State, is a comprehensive 4-year university just a few miles from California’s Capitol in the heart of the state’s political, economic, and cultural center. Sacramento State is comprised of seven academic colleges offering approximately 58 undergraduate majors. Classrooms, labs, offices, and other facilities are nestled in a beautiful 300-acre, tree-lined campus alongside the American River.

Union Well, Inc.
The University Union is operated by Union Well Inc., and is an auxiliary of California State University, Sacramento and a California 501(c) 3 Not for Profit Corporation. The University Union facility, totaling approximately 183,000 square feet, currently houses food service operations, retail operations, meeting spaces, Associated Students, Inc., Student Organizations and Leadership offices, Women’s Resource Center, PRIDE Center, the State Hornet newspaper, KSSU Student Radio, Public Information Desk, University Police Service Center, Games Room, Gallery, Terminal Lounge (music/video digital media), Student Computer Lounge, computer and printer workstations throughout the building, and various open lounge spaces.

D+B_Sacramento State University Union Expansion_Press-Release.pdf