Chain-link fences and orange cones adorn several areas of campus as construction on a number of projects continues into the start of the school year.
According to Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Design and Facilities Marc Fisher, crews are working on residence hall renovations and infrastructure renewals, as well as entirely new buildings in an effort to catch up with the growth of the student body that has occurred since the ’90s.
UCSB has opened several new buildings this year already. The Student Resource Building wrapped construction last spring, as did the Theater and Dance Building and an adjacent parking structure, Fisher said. All are located at the western-most side of the Pardall Road corridor.
Furthermore, the Mosher Alumni House next to Campbell Hall is finished and occupied. Fisher said he encourages the students to visit the building, although not all of the displays that it will house are available yet.
“It is a really nice place to connect to the campus, both in the past and the future,” Fisher said.
As for current developments, San Nicolas Hall is undergoing updates similar to those completed on San Miguel Hall last summer, such as the additions of new fire alarms and sprinklers, paint, carpeting and landscaping. Fisher said all of the high-rise residence halls now have fire sprinklers installed.
Meanwhile, the new graduate student housing will have units available for move in Summer ’08, Fisher said.
“San Clemente Housing is moving along very quickly,” he said. “The parking structure is done and is currently being used for construction parking and the housing construction is ahead of schedule.”
Fisher said that because San Clemente Housing encroaches on Storke Field, Facilities Management will work with the Rec Cen to expand and improve the area between the 976-unit complex and Harder Stadium.
The construction on the Education and Social Sciences Buildings Complex is also underway between the Events Center and the North Hall bus loop and is running on schedule, Fisher said. The three-building complex, set for completion in Summer ’09, will house the Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television and New Media Studies, the Social Sciences department offices and the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education.
Meanwhile, Fisher noted some students have found the smaller projects that renew the campus’ infrastructure inconvenient.
“The little projects seem to be the most disruptive,” he said. “The bigger ones tend to be more organized and fenced off, hidden from the students more.”
Fisher said crews are wrapping up work on an extension to the system that carries water for the air conditioning on campus by connecting the buildings to increase their efficiency.
“The project was disruptive over the summer,” he said. “It tore up sidewalks and bike paths, but in a few weeks you won’t be able to tell we’ve been there.”
As for projects beginning Fall Quarter, Fisher said crews will replace gas lines along the Pardall Road corridor, which may cause disruptions in the bike lanes.
Furthermore, East Campus features two major additions. A new digital sign located at the Highway 217 entrance will display campus news when it begins running next week.
Next to the sign is the new Henley Gate, an architectural monument funded by Jeff and Judy Henley, as well as Marvel Kirby, Fredric Steck, Kelly LeBrock and an anonymous donor. Jeff Henley graduated from UCSB in the late 1960s and helped plan the arched gateway. Fisher said the design features an arch 27 feet tall at its highest point and a nearby wall with the UC seal and the name of the campus.