UCSB is in the process of choosing a construction company to build Loma Paloma – a proposed multipurpose building that was originally scheduled to open as part of the Manzanita Village complex in 2002.

The project has undergone several rounds of bidding to find the best construction company, but the university has thus far rejected every bid, citing them as too costly. The latest offer was received Feb. 26, and, according to Housing & Residential Services Director Willie Brown, it is currently under consideration.

“The low bid was about $70,000 over our target and well within the acceptable range,” Brown said. “We will await any challenges by the other bidders, and if there are none, we will begin processing this with students and faculty to move the project along as quickly as possible.”

According to the UCSB facilities management website, construction of the 7,415-square-foot structure will cost approximately $3,400,000. It will feature rooms and lounges to be used for academic and social programming and will have space for recreational activities.

The Manzanita Village project has four components. Of these, the residence hall buildings, Carrillo Dining Commons and De Anza Resource Center were finished in 2002, while Loma Paloma was postponed, pending the acquisition of more funding, which may come via residence hall room and board fees. The project site currently lies fenced off and undeveloped.

“When we built Manzanita, this was part of the project,” Brown said. “It wasn’t built because there was not enough money. Construction costs have increased over the past five years, and it is becoming progressively harder to actually begin the process of building this center.”

According to RHA President Stephanie Brower, if the latest bid is approved, students could be using the building as early as June of next year.

“If the bid is low enough, construction should start mid-April and we would be occupying the building by June 8,” Brower said.

Brower said she and A.S. President Jared Goldschen are determined to pressure UCSB to accept a bid soon and will use such tactics as contacting residents and telling them to ask resident assistants when construction will begin.

“There are lots of ‘ifs’ in this equation, the main one being cost,” Brower said. “[But] Jared Goldschen and I are going to start pushing hard to get the bid accepted.”