The university is only a few signatures away from incorporating another 33 acres of land, bringing its total up to 1,022 acres of prime real estate.

Recently, the Devereux Foundation – a nonprofit national organization that works with the developmentally disabled – agreed to sell one of its campuses, located west of Isla Vista near Coal Oil Point, to the university for an undisclosed amount. The deal will be finalized in early May after the two parties negotiate an agreement to lease part of the land back to Devereux.

Chancellor Henry T. Yang said the school has no set plans for the land and will use the existing facilities to alleviate and absorb the cost of purchasing it.

“Once the property is acquired, we will again conduct a broad and thorough consultative process to solicit input in developing our vision for planning the use of this property,” Yang said. “The guiding principle for the short term will be to use the facilities to accommodate campus programs that will generate savings so that there will not be any financial burden for our campus while we pay off the purchasing costs.”

Yang, who helped broker the deal and even spoke with clients and parents of Devereux residents about the program’s future, said UCSB will definitely lease land back to Devereux for the continuation of programs. The foundation will also continue to expand its programs and work with mentally disabled adults in the community after the purchase is finalized, said Janis Johnson, a spokesperson for Devereux.

Bob Kreider, president and CEO of Devereux, said ensuring that the Devereux Foundation would not have to relocate was an integral part of the sale.

“We are pleased to be able to continue a strong and positive relationship with the University of California, Santa Barbara, and feel fortunate to have a purchaser who will operate in a manner compatible with the special needs of the individuals we serve and honor the philosophic interests of Devereux,” Kreider said.

The Devereux School, a part of the foundation that housed and helped developmentally disabled children, was forced to close last June due to lack of funding, Johnson said. When the school closed, two residential programs and a day school were shut down.

Currently, both day and residential programs remain available for adult clients, who receive care and education about basic life skills on campus and in their own homes.

“We are still treating adults with developmental disabilities in supported living,” Johnson said. “We have 36 adults living in their own homes and apartments throughout the community.”

The closure came amidst the trial and conviction of a Devereux worker who raped a mentally disabled resident two years earlier. Darren Boyer Thomas, a former Devereux night manager, was sentenced to eight years in prison after a resident was found pregnant. Thomas’ DNA matched the victim’s aborted child.

Devereux’s executive administrator Amy Evans denied any connection between the reported rape and the sale of land, and blamed the closure on sluggish donations and limited state funding and grants.

“None of our closures came as a result of the tragic incident involving an ex-staff member and one of our clients,” Evans said.