The largest building project in 30 years at UCSB doesn’t have a name yet.
But it does have a committee.
The committee, along with architects and several campus departments, is planning for a 110,000-square foot, $51.3 million academic building over parking lots 20 and 21, adjacent to the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Plans for the building need to be completed by May to ensure state funding, but construction will not be completed for at least five years.
Pre-design meetings and discussions indicate that the committee is focusing on making the project the most sophisticated and technologically advanced building on campus, said Social Sciences Dean Edward Donnerstein, the co-chair of the committee. Potential projects for the building would be a digital film theater and labs that employ cutting-edge technology, though specific plans are still premature.
“The building will be on the cutting-edge – it will be a great research teaching facility dealing with the most innovative and cutting-edge technology, and obviously give the needed space to the appropriate departments,” he said.
Several departments are expected to expand or relocate into the new building. The two-structure complex will be larger than any other building currently on campus, surpassing the Humanities and Social Sciences Building by 20,000 square feet. The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education will occupy 50,000 square feet, roughly half of the building, while the other 60,000 will go to various departments in the College of Letters and Science, Donnerstein said. The project will provide an additional 75,000 square feet from vacated academic space.
Graduate enrollment is also expected to increase with the new building, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education Dean Jules Zimmer said.
“We’ll be moving from Phelps into the new building and we are anticipating growing both our research and student enrollment,” he said.
UCSB has set a goal to increase graduate enrollment at the UCSB campus to 15 percent of the population and increase the number of Gevirtz graduate students from 350 to 500 by 2020, Zimmer said. As of Fall 2001, 2424 total graduate students attend UCSB, comprising about 13.5 percent of the student body.
The building will embrace the same environmentally sound approaches as the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, Donnerstein said, but the technological aspects of the design will receive more attention.
“Bren is a ‘green’ building, so it is environmentally sound in terms of materials and efficiency, and that is always part of building design,” he said. “We also want this to be a technologically ‘smart’ building – it may even have a wireless [communication] system.”
Due to the technological focus and long-term plans of the project, anticipation of future information technology requirements is very difficult, Office of Information Technology Director Mark Aldenderfer said.
“The problem for us is to predict the standards of information technology in five years. We can only create a baseline of expectations of what that might be and try to include some of that,” he said. “It’s important to stress that it’s really hard to tell what the future will entail. We know it will be better, but what that means is kind of hard to say. We try to get the best bang out of our buck.”
The building will go up with state funding, Donnerstein said, but private funds will be used to expand specific parts of the building such as a high-quality film theater. The estimated time for completion of the project is five years. However, that projection may be too optimistic, Donnerstein said.
Parking issues will also need to be addressed and appropriate accommodations, possibly including a parking structure, will be made prior to the building’s construction since the Gevirtz School will house counseling clinics that require proximal parking.