UCSB officially purchased all 33 acres of Devereux this past week, bringing the campus’ total property to 1,022 acres.
The UC Board of Regents approved the $27.5 million sale in March, with the acquisition closing in escrow on Wednesday, said Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux. The sale also leases four acres back to the Devereux Foundation – the largest national nonprofit organization providing social services and education for the intellectually and developmentally disabled. The organization will continue its adult residential and outpatient programs and will have the opportunity to maintain the lease for the next 60 years, Desruisseaux said.
In an e-mail, Chancellor Henry T. Yang stated that the acquisition was “a historic milestone” for the university and that UCSB will benefit greatly from the purchase.
“We have long recognized the importance of having these remaining 33 acres of developed property as an integral part of our campus,” Yang said. “They will be a wonderful complement to our adjacent West Campus faculty housing, and will enhance our ability to fulfill the mission of our campus as well as provide unique ecological benefits.”
Devereux Foundation Spokeswoman Janis Johnson said the sale was prompted by the organization’s new focus on community assistance.
“We are aligning ourselves with the shift in state and national possibilities in favor of community outreach and services in the home,” Johnson said. “Any future services will be community based, but we are retaining the program in the four acres we have now.”
In order to develop short- and long-term ideas for the 29 acres of property, Yang announced the formation of the Devereux Planning Committee on Wednesday. The committee’s co-chairs are UCSB’s Academic Senate Chair Dr. Joel Michaelsen and Assistant Budget and Planning Chancellor Todd Lee.
Michaelsen said meetings will start in October with the expectation to produce a set of recommendations by Spring Quarter.
“Over the long run, there needs to be something [on the property] that is really special and unique that matches what is a pretty amazing site and serves important campus needs,” Michaelsen said.
The committee will consist of professors, deans and staff, as well as two students – Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs Lindsey Quock and Graduate Students Association Vice President for Student Affairs Amber Gonzalez.
Yang said the short-term purposes of the property will include housing programs that will fund the purchase of the land.
He said the committee may eventually consider a long-term vision for the South Knoll, the area closest to the ocean, but for now, it will focus on additional faculty and staff housing on the North Knoll.
Yang also said it was important for students to provide input on the future of the property.
“I would urge all those students who have any interest or comments about the use of the Devereux property to share their viewpoints and suggestions with the committee and me,” Yang said.