Skip to Main Content
Chico State

Chico State to Break Ground on First Net-Zero Building with Future Home for College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Artist rendering of the front of a new academic building
Images courtesy of Turner Construction Co.

New building in footprint of former Physical Sciences Building will become downtown gateway to campus and include indoor garden

Long known for its commitment to and leadership in sustainability, Chico State will break ground this week on the new building for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences—the first net-zero building on campus and the third in the entire CSU system. 

The new 94,000-square-foot building will be home to nine academic departments, 22 classrooms, five laboratories for conducting research, and one large tiered lecture hall, as well as faculty offices, conference space, and breakout rooms to foster collaboration. It will also be home to the Community Legal Information Clinic and the Gender and Sexuality Equity Coalition, both of which have been part of campus for more than 50 years.  

“As we work to attract and serve the next generation of changemakers, we’re proud to do so with one of the most state-of-the-art buildings in the entire CSU system,” said President Gayle Hutchinson. “It sets a standard for the high-quality, high-value educational experience we offer at Chico State now and well into the future, while raising the bar for future efforts to support our commitment to sustainability.”

The public and media are invited to its groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 8. A short program will include a blessing from the Mechoopda Indian Tribe and remarks from University officials and College of BSS Student Senator Brenna Gossner.

Artist rendering of the front of a new academic building

“BSS is proud to represent some of the University’s most premier programs—all of which expand our understanding of the behavioral, social, cultural, and environmental aspects of the human condition,” said Dean Eddie Vela. “This new building will foster academic excellence and incredible scholarship. Here, our students will have an unparalleled experience, learning from our expert faculty and working to solve the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century.”

The building, which will open to students in fall 2024, also reflects the University’s commitment to offering a variety of learning modalities and increasing program access through technology and design. Each classroom and lab will feature Chico Flex, the University’s innovative instruction model that enables faculty to teach and interact with students in person and online simultaneously.

Adhering to 21st-century demands and the University’s strategic priority of sustainable and resilient systems, the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building will be the third net-zero building in the CSU through using solar panels, an efficient water system, maximizing daylight and embracing LEDs, and a chilled beam cooling system. Architecturally, it extends the natural beauty of Chico State’s tree-filled campus into the building through an indoor garden with living trees and bridges and platforms for open and enclosed study spaces.

Located in the footprint of the former Physical Science Building, behind Ayres Hall and near Children’s Park, the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building will serve as a gateway to downtown. As its design intentionally branches out, it honors the mission of the college it intends to serve—bringing people together.

Artist rendering of the front of a new academic building

Once it opens, it will allow for spaces in Butte Hall, the current home of BSS, to be used as surge space to help renovate other buildings on campus as described in the University’s Physical Master Plan.

The $98 million building is funded by capital project funds from the California State University and State of California. Designed by architect AC Martin, its construction is being led by Turner Construction Co.

“I believe it is important to acknowledge and thank the State of California for identifying the need to invest in our students and to take action by supporting this project,” President Hutchinson said. “Our future graduates will be California’s workforce of tomorrow—this will surely be an invaluable return on the state’s investment.”

Dan Wheeler, regional vice president for Turner Construction Co., is a proud Chico State alum (Construction Management, ’93) and is thrilled to be a part of the construction of the new BSS building.

“To be a part of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences project on campus 30 years after I graduated means so much to me and our company,” Wheeler said. “We recruit, interview and hire a lot of Chico State students. With this project, we can catch up with students on a regular basis and they get to see what a real-world job of this magnitude looks like.”