While many finished this summer, a plethora of construction projects continue campuswide as the school year commences.
The projects include the remodeling of the East Gate Entrance, the California NanoSystems Institute, the renovation of San Miguel Residence Hall, an addition to the Psychology Building, the Student Resource Building, two parking structures, updates to Snidecor Hall and Campbell Hall, the Mosher Alumni House and the San Clemente Student Housing buildings on El Colegio Road.
Marc Fisher, associate vice chancellor for campus design and facilities, said this is not so much a new period of growth at the campus, but a period of catch-up to the growth that has been happening since the early 1990s. He said the current construction boom on campus is the second of two large phases of increased building construction at UCSB, the first of which occurred in the 1960s, when the university was built.
Construction on the East Gate at the end of Highway 217 is currently diverting traffic to one side of the road while the area is upgraded with a divided roadway, new lighting, updated landscaping, a bus stop and a traffic circle that will replace the stoplight.
“The construction didn’t seem to [impede Move-In Weekend],” Fisher said. “The greatest impact will probably be around 5 p.m. [on a regular daily basis] when everyone’s trying to get out of here.”
Fisher said the East Gate should be finished by December. There are plans to construct a marquee wall at the entrance, in partnership with the Samsung Corporation, this spring that will display the UCSB seal. Both projects were funded by donor dollars.
The nearby CNSI was completed over the summer, Fisher said, and workers are now cleaning up around the site. The building contains several laboratories and offices, and also has an image immersion center that allows researchers to explore cells in novel ways.
Fisher said the CNSI building was funded through the state dollars former Governor Gray Davis earmarked for such research. Funding for the 600-space parking structure, 10 Parking, was derived from parking fees. The cafe in the lot’s plaza was built through lunch sales in the UCen.
Fisher said the upgrades in San Miguel primarily addressed safety issues, with workers installing a new fire alarm and sprinkler system in the building. Other updates included replacing windows in student rooms, renovating lounges and modernizing elevators.
“We took care of the technical issues and improved the quality of life at the same time,” Fisher said.
Lynne Pritchard, business officer in the psychology department, said the Psychology East building, which opened over the summer, is a 17,500 square-foot addition that houses psychology faculty and staff offices and includes two student computing laboratories. She said the building’s basement houses the Brain Imaging Center, which will have an MRI system in the near future.
“This is the culmination of long planning process,” Pritchard said.
The Student Resource Building is going up adjacent to the Pardall tunnel, and is planned to open in time for Winter Quarter this year, Fisher said. The building will house – among other departments – Campus Learning Assistance Services, which currently sits in World War II era wooden buildings that will soon be demolished.
“It’s quite nice,” Fisher said of the building. “It has a child-care facility and several eating areas.”
Students voted to fund the resource building through a lock-in fee. Fisher expects this building will have a great impact on students’ daily lives.
Across the Pardall corridor from the building is 22 Parking, a 1,075-space parking lot that Fisher said will open shortly, pending resolution of problems with the elevators. Another change is the Pardall corridor bike path, which Fisher said was lowered by two feet and now has proper pedestrian pathways.
The new parking structures will not make significant changes in the amount of parking spaces available because the new academic buildings were built on parking lots, Fisher said.
He said Snidecor Hall is also due to open in December. The renovated building now includes several acting, dance and theater design studios, as well as two general classrooms – one with 60 seats and the other with 150 seats and a stage.
The dressing rooms in Campbell Hall are undergoing a small amount of construction to make the building more accessible to the disabled and movement impaired, Fisher said. This construction is due to be completed in October
“We’re trying to bring in high-level performers that we haven’t been able to have before,” Fisher said.
The Alumni House is under construction near Campbell and Cheadle Halls and is scheduled to open in early Spring 2007. The building was designed by alumnus Barry Berkus and will serve primarily as a meeting space for alumni visiting the campus. It will also include a library comprised entirely of published work by UCSB graduates.
“It’s going to be a social building,” Fisher said. “It’s to keep you involved in the university after you’ve graduated.”
The San Clemente Student Housing building and parking structure are going up on El Colegio Road and will be open in Fall 2008. Fisher said it will feature 976 single rooms, which will most likely house only graduate students. The building will be paid for through student housing fees.