Campus: San Bernardino -- March 29, 2006

New Santos Manuel Student Union Set To Open At Cal State San Bernardino

After nearly two years of construction and renovation, the all-new Santos Manuel Student Union at Cal State San Bernardino will officially re-open on Thursday, April 6, with special ceremonies and ribbon cutting beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The student union has been expanded to more than 83,000 square feet, which is more than twice its previous size. Renovations include 22,000 square feet of existing space and the addition of 40,000 square feet of new indoor space.

The renovated student union will provide larger dining areas with more restaurant choices; more office space for student clubs and organizations; additional space for the university’s Cross Cultural Center, Women’s Resource Center and Adult Re-Entry Center; a 200-seat theater for films, concerts and speakers; meeting rooms; student lounges and a large two-story lobby area at the hub of the building.

“This is a project that has been a long time coming to fruition, but we’re ecstatic about the final product. It’s more attractive than I had imagined it would be, and it will provide our students with the dining, meeting, office, study, theater and other spaces that they’ve long deserved,” said Cal State San Bernardino President Albert Karnig. “It was the students who made this possible, voting to increase their own fees so that the student union could be expanded and renovated. They’ve been richly rewarded with a wonderful facility.”

Funding for the renovation and expansion project was provided mainly through student fees. In March 2001, Cal State San Bernardino students voted to increase campus fees for students to expand the student union and construct a recreation center. Construction on the $18 million project began in June 2004.

“Expansion of the student union not only allows us to better serve our growing student population with additional space, but should also increase the level of student involvement on campus through the new and expanded programs we’ll offer,” said Greg Lehr, executive director of the Santos Manuel Student Union.

A Starbucks Coffee outlet and a convenience store have been added to the student union, along with food offerings from Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and several others. The existing events center was renovated as part of the process and will host large events, including the university’s 40th anniversary gala celebration on Saturday, May 6.

Along with student fees, the building was funded through a major gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Of $3 million contributed to the university, $1 million was targeted toward the expansion of the Cross Cultural Center in the student union. In addition, $1 million went toward a diversity program endowment to fund annual operational programs for the Cross Cultural Center, Women’s Resource Center
and Adult Re-entry Center. Another $1 million is directed to an endowed scholarship program ($800,000) and an endowed internship program ($200,000).

“We’re extremely appreciative of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and their understanding of the importance of higher education in the Inland Empire and at Cal State San Bernardino,” Karnig said. “The university and San Manuel Tribe have worked closely on many collaborative projects, and this is a relationship we value greatly. Their generous gift is another chapter in the mutual cooperation and partnership we’ve shared over the years.”

Following the receipt of the gift in 2003, the student union was renamed the Santos Manuel Student Union in honor of Santos Manuel, a tribal leader who led the tribe from the San Bernardino Mountains to what eventually became the San Manuel Reservation in the 1890s.

The $3 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is the largest ever received by the Cal State San Bernardino main campus. It is also the largest gift from a Native American tribe to any of the 23 campuses of California State University, resulting in the first building named after a tribe at a CSU campus.

“Our relationship with the university was built by working together on many programs that draw together the Native American and campus community and we look forward to new opportunities to expand these programs,” said Chairman-elect Henry Duro of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “With the re-opening of the student union we share a part of our identity by having this building named after our revered leader, Santos Manuel.”

A campus-wide pre-event festival will be held on the lawn area outside the Pfau Library and the Santos Manuel Student Union, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will open with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ presentation of traditional songs, followed by a blessing by tribal elders. Cal State San Bernardino officials and students and San Manuel representatives will make comments. Ribbon cutting will be followed by the official opening of the building. Tours will be offered.

The ceremony also will honor the life of San Manuel Band of Mission Indians tribal leader and building name sake, Santos Manuel, through a performance by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Bird Singers and a blessing by tribal elders.

Cal State San Bernardino and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians enjoy a strong relationship of cooperation and a longtime history of collaborative programs. The university hosts the California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference, Native American Awareness Day, Native American Heritage Month and the annual People of the Pines Pow Wow. The San Manuel Tribe has been a longtime supporter of Cal State San Bernardino athletics and other programs on campus.

Kemp Brothers Construction, Inc., of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., constructed the new building. The architect was LPA, Inc. from Irvine, Calif. Cal State San Bernardino’s office of construction and capital planning managed the project.

For more information, contact the CSUSB public affairs office at (909) 537-5007 and visit the campus news Web site at For more information about the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, call (909) 754-0298.

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