CSULB park not employing students

The Cal State Long Beach Technology Park may be generating revenue for the university since it was built in 2005, but CSULB has not participated in using the ground that was built for its students.

The Technology Park, located on Pacific Coast Highway near Santa Fe Avenue, was initially built to provide CSULB a site to conduct research and training. However, Mo Tidemanis, Foundation director of property development, said the university does not intend to send CSULB students to the park.

“We’ve been trying to attract university training programs for 10 years,” Tidemanis said. “Location and the university training programs that we do operate have found that other locations work better for them better than this location.”

Previously, CSULB-related tenants created an educational opportunity center to encourage secondary education. But according to Tidemanis, the university-operated center did not stay at the Technology Park for long and the duration of its stay, as well as exact dates, are unknown.

“[CSULB-related operations] have been here for several years and to be honest, I don’t know where you would find the information of their stay,” he said.

The CSULB Foundation does not keep track of tenant activities within each center. Since many of the managements are individually operated, each training program keeps track of its own activity, while other centers may not even exist anymore.

The Technology Park currently sits on a 32-acre land west of Long Beach, where two former naval housing facilities used to sit. The two buildings were renovated for immediate classroom business needs. Tidemanis said this was not the ideal environment for students.

Tidemanis also said the location of the project was never an issue from the beginning.

“We are market-driven,” he said. Since the park is located so closely to the Port of Long Beach, Tidemanis said most tenants are involved in some sort of port-related activity.

“We do have two educational centers that are independently owned,” he said, “but the economic market decides on who the tenants are, and port business is the demand for that location.”

The educational centers include Corinthian College and Cole’s Vocational Training.

Tidemanis emphasized that creating university training programs is only one of the core missions.

According to the CSULB Technology Park Web site, aside from training students to further their education, other missions include promoting technology research related to private industry tenants, promoting interaction opportunities for the local community and industry tenants, providing financial returns that can be used to further the mission of CSULB and to serve as an aid in economic development of the Greater Long Beach area.

“I believe we have achieved our entire mission,” Tidemanis said. “We have two training programs running for the community, our buildings have tenants and we are creating revenue for the university.”

Tidemanis did not give an exact figure, but he did say the Technology Park is making “well over six figures” for CSULB.

Two phases of site development have been completed, while the third phase is in the process of being approved by the city.

So far, the funding of previous phases for the Technology Park was through a $5.6 million federal grant for construction and $600,000 matching state grants for operations. No portion of the project has ever been state-funded, and the university took no part in funding the Technology Park.

“We have to survive on its own economically,” Tidemanis said.

The owner of the Technology Park land, the Foundation, is separate from the university. The Foundation is on campus to help the university’s extensions. In this case, the Technology Park was to provide additional education for students aside from what they can learn on campus.

Tidemanis said the future of the park is unknown because of the uncertainty of the economy. He said he is happy with the current situation of the Technology Park and all missions are currently being fulfilled. Although the CSULB Foundation hoped to attract CSULB to use the facilities for educational purposes, the Technology Park has yet to meet a stable university-related tenant.

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