Excitement abounds during new behavioral and social sciences building groundbreaking ceremony


In no particular order, President Gayle Hutchinson, Interim Provost Stephen Perez, College of BSS Dean Eddie Vela, Associate Dean Ryan Patten, BSS Student Senator Brenna Gossner, AS President Krystal Alvarez, Faculty Senate Chair Marianne Paiva, Staff Council Chair Tawnie Peterson, Mechoopda Indian Tribal Chairman Dennis Ramirez, City of Chico Mayor Andrew Coolidge, Turner Construction Company Representatives Jim Hull and Dan Wheeler, AC Martin Representative Danielle Martin Spice and CPDC Representative Zachary Smith take part in Wednesday’s shovel ceremony. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 8.

Golden shovels glinted in the sun as 15 university and community representatives stepped to a horizontal mound of dirt, ready to christen the new College of Behavioral and Social Sciences building during the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday where the old Physical Sciences building once stood.

“It almost seems like this day was ordained, the weather is beautiful, everything seems to have just come together,” the college of BSS dean, Eddie Vela, said.

After opening remarks from President Gayle Hutchinson and a blessing from the Mechoopda Indian Tribal Chairman Dennis Ramirez, Vela stepped up to the podium. Students, staff, faculty, community members, representatives for the office of Assemblyman James Gallagher and Congressman Doug LaMalfa and city council members, were in attendance.

The new building will gather nine of the 11 BSS departments, as well as provide a new student access center, space for formal and informal learning, cafe, showers, a lactation room and even an indoor garden. Vela told The Orion the garden will consist of two or three stations on the first floor full of trees and foliage.

The Gender and Sexuality Equity Coalition and Community Legal Information Center will also have new offices in the building.

President Gayle Hutchinson closes out Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony with an important question. Taken by Ariana Powell, Jan. 8.

Nature is a large part of the building’s design. Hutchinson said that it was specifically built to accommodate the surrounding natural aspect, such as the nearby creek.

“A 21st century place to learn, work, live and flourish,” Vela said.

The commonality amongst attendees and speakers alike was excitement.

“I am really excited to follow in the footsteps of all of the great faculty and students who have made the vision for this building possible,” Cecilia Lore, an anthropology major, said.

Stephen Perez, the interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, said that he was excited to be out at the ceremony and for headway to be made on the building.

Brenna Gossner, the college of BSS student senator, one of the speakers and a student under the college of BSS, or “the coolest college” as she stated it, was also excited for future students who would have a new place to learn.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if people switched majors to be a part of something new,” Gossner said.

Even though Gossner will be graduating in the Spring, Hutchinson said during her closing speech that the building will be there for 50, 60, 70 and hopefully 80 years as Chico State goes forward. She left one final question for her audience.

“What will Chico State dare to do next?”

The building will officially open in Fall 2024.

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected].