After what is now being called a “temporary closure,” UC San Diego’s University Center is looking into reopening the Crafts Center, which closed on Sept. 26. The Crafts Center offered classes in jewelry making, glass blowing and ceramics, among others; hosted annual exhibits and held fundraisers. A student fee funded the Center.
Student and faculty response to the surprise closure announcement was swift and dissenting. Petitions in support of reopening the Crafts Center went online at http://bit.ly/craftcenter and signon.org/sign/save-the- ucsd-crafts. Soon after, UCSD communications officer Christine Clark said the University Center launched a website with the latest information about the situation at crafts.ucsd.edu
“Currently, UC San Diego’s University Center is assessing the scope of work and estimated costs it will take to renovate the Crafts Center,” Clark said. “This task should be completed in November. Once the estimated costs are finalized, the University Center will work toward launching a fund-raising campaign to renovate and open the Crafts Center.”
Safety evaluations are being assessed by independent experts ISES Corporation, the UCSD fire marshal and a structural engineer. Their findings will be posted on the Crafts Center site.
In the meantime, discussions have been ongoing about other UCSD programs absorbing the classes normally taught at the Crafts Center, including UCSD Recreation Center and UCSD Extension.
In the university’s stated breakdown of costs, approximately $594,000 is needed to operate the Crafts Center, which annually generates $377,000 in revenue. The rest is provided by University Center and does not include the cost of any required renovations.
As previously reported in
La Jolla Light
, registration for the art classes was ongoing when the announcement to close the facility came. It affected some 500 UCSD students, faculty and community members who use the Crafts Center each year.
Those registered for classes this quarter will have their tuition refunded.
The UCSD press release explaining the closure stated: “Rising costs have triggered the need for budget reductions in the University Centers (including the Crafts Center), which is funded primarily by the University Centers’ student fee. Decisions about reductions were based on students’ priorities and their usage of University Centers programs, service and facilities.
Anticipated expenses related to facility renovations were factored into the decision. A recent facility condition analysis of the Crafts Center identified $1.5 million in needed renovation work.”