Construction crews broke ground last week on the new Education and Social Sciences Buildings, which will provide new facilities for the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, as well as several Letters and Science departments.

The development project will consist of three buildings situated between the UCSB bus loop and the Events Center, replacing parking lots 20 and 21. These buildings include the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education – currently located in Phelps Hall – the College of Letters and Science building and the Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television and New Media, said Executive Vice-Chancellor Gene Lucas.

According to the UCSB Facilities Management website, the total construction project will cost $101,787,000, and completion is slated for end of June 2009.

The Carsey-Wolf Center will cost $10 million to construct and is partially funded by private donations from Dick Wolf – the creator of the television drama “Law and Order” – actor Marcy Carsey and alumnus actor Michael Douglas. The lobby and reception hall of the center will be named after Douglas.

While the cost of constructing the Gevirtz Graduate School and the College of Letters and Science building will be primarily financed by the state, Lucas said the Carsey-Wolf Center will be fully funded by donors.

To make up for the lost parking lots, UC spokesman Karl Burrelsman said parking will be redirected to the Mesa Parking structure and the new 22 Parking structure, located across the bike path from the new Student Resource Building.

Transportation and Parking Services released 400 of the 1,075 parking spaces in 22 Parking for students, faculty, staff commuters and visitors last week in an effort to accommodate the closure of lots 20 and 21, Associate Director of TPS Robert Sundberg said. The structure is expected to completely open March 19.

Aside from parking, many on-campus departments will relocate. The Film and Media Studies Dept., currently located on the first floor of Ellison Hall, will move to the Carsey-Wolf Center. The new department home will feature screening rooms, a student lounge and a 298-seat movie theater, Film Studies Undergraduate Advisor Joe Palladino said.

Palladino said the Pollock Theater will occasionally screen film series and movies to the public, as well as to students.

“The Pollock will give a more theater-like atmosphere for movies,” Palladino said.

The Communications Dept. will also transfer from Ellison Hall to occupy space in the College of Letters and Science building, Lucas said.

As a result of the development, new spaces will open for departments that are currently spread across campus in temporary buildings, including the Psychology Dept. and the Earth Sciences Dept.

Lucas said certain departments, such as the Geography Dept., are likely to benefit from the available space, although vacant slots in Phelps and Ellison have not yet been officially allocated.

“Right now, the Geography Dept. is spread across the campus,” Lucas said. “Now they can hopefully coalesce into vacated space in Phelps Hall.”

Besides offering increased space for classes and faculty, the buildings will be environmentally friendly and offer wireless Internet, Burrelsman said. The buildings will feature energy-efficient mechanics including elevators, carpeting made out of recycled materials and concrete made out of fly ash – a byproduct of coal burning – Burrelsman said.

“The whole development is designed to be as sustainable as possible,” Burrelsman said.