The Student Union building was made a reality in a general student body election held in November 1963, which created the necessity of collecting an additional fee from the student body. Construction of the 144,000 square foot building, designed by the Palo Alto architectural firm of Ernest J. Krump and Associates, was begun in 1967. The Student Union was opened in the Fall of 1969 and cost in excess of $5 million, including furnishings.

During the 1980s, the process of the 1960s was repeated. Students voted to tax themselves in order to build a recreation and event center. Three different elections were held; additional student fees were collected, and the facilities were constructed. In May 1988, the Aquatic Center opened, and in May 1989, the Event Center opened.

The Student Union fee, which every student pays each semester, goes toward the repayment of the bonds on all the facilities, as well as supporting a percentage of the annual operational costs of the buildings. No state money (tax dollars) is used in the construction or operation of any of the facilities.

In 2006, the Student Center Facilities Project was approved via alternative consultation for the expansion & renovation of the Student Union building and the construction of a new recreation facility. The Diaz Compean Student Union was completed in 2016. Completion of the new Spartan Recreation & Aquatic Center, located at Paseo de San Carlos and 7th Street, is scheduled for spring of 2019.

This complete fitness and wellness center will house a 1/8-mile indoor track, rock wall & bouldering area, two pools with deck space, three basketball courts, a MAC court, four fitness studios, 4 separate cardio & fitness areas, and social meeting space.