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Press Release

Two New Outdoor Community Spaces Enhance Campus Experience

Contact: Aaron Lambert

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly has completed two new outdoor community spaces, along with its first commissioned outdoor mural, to help beautify the campus and create places for campus community members and visitors to enjoy.

Tables and chairs sit on a veranda near the Performing Arts building under strings of white lights
Cal Poly has completed two new outdoor community spaces, including one in front of the Performing Arts Center, to help beautify the campus and create places for campus community members and visitors to enjoy.

The two outdoor spaces, one in front of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and the other outside Campus Market in the Via Carta corridor, as well as the mural were commissioned and created by the Cal Poly Corporation.

“These new outdoor spaces provide a real sense of community,” third-year business administration student Emmanuel Rivera said. “The great additions really help improve the campus. We really are so blessed as students to live on such a beautiful campus like Cal Poly.”

The CPC team moved quickly and collaboratively with Cal Poly trades and outside contractors throughout the summer to create, plan and execute the program and build the spaces.

“The new functional and beautiful gathering space outside the PAC will serve as a perfect study-outside getaway during the day and dining alfresco spot in the evening,” said Andrea Burns, Cal Poly Corporation associate executive director.

On any given night there will be two food trucks with an additional two local pop-up restaurants serving in the near PAC Plaza. The PAC Lawn was designed to be a mini haven with shaded areas for sitting, soft grass for laying, and lighting for an evening soiree. Cal Poly donated funds to beautify the perimeter spaces of the lawn area, transforming the entire space in front of the PAC.

“It’s nice to escape from my residence hall and enjoy the campus,” said third-year public health student Raji Kachana. “This really is a beautiful campus, and sometimes we as students can forget that. So, having a place to do homework and have socially distance meetups with my friends is great. It really is so peaceful and connects you to other parts of the community.”

The enhanced Via Carta Plaza is an inviting space featuring parklet-style landscaping, seating under umbrellas, Santa Maria style barbecue and a food truck area. Located directly outside Campus Market grill and salad bar, Via Carta now also is home to a three-panel public mural created by Grover Beach artist Oscar Pearson that recognizes the value and contributions of migrant workers and farmworkers, the agricultural bounty of the Central Coast, and Cal Poly students’ contributions to the field of agriculture.

To help beautify, inspire and grow the collection of campus public art, the Cal Poly Corporation commissioned the mural following a thorough proposal process that included a selection committee comprised of Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and a member of the community.

The mural has transformed a divided triptych wall into a vibrant mural that encourages student and community interaction. It is located on the Food Processing Building (No. 24) at the intersection of Highland Drive and Via Carta.

These projects are part of the Corporation’s ongoing outdoor campus enhancements that include the Food Truck Village in front of Mott Athletics Center; new seating, tables and umbrellas along Mustang Way; and Adirondack-style seating at Dexter Lawn. In addition to donating funds, Cal Poly and ASI are assisting with the maintenance and upkeep.

About Cal Poly

Cal Poly is a nationally ranked public university located in San Luis Obispo, California, known for its Learn by Doing philosophy. Each year about 22,000 top-tier students come to Cal Poly to put knowledge into action, taking their learning outside the classroom as they prepare for careers in areas such as engineering, agriculture, science, business, humanities and the built environment. Cal Poly’s hands-on approach, small class sizes and close student-faculty mentorships result in graduates who are Ready Day One to impact their communities, California and the world. Visit:

About Cal Poly Corporation

Cal Poly Corporation is the nonprofit auxiliary organization to Cal Poly, providing self-supporting, innovative and high-quality services to the university and assisting the institution in achieving its educational mission.