UCSB is currently in the middle of a $1 billion capital program to construct new buildings and revamp infrastructure. During the last year, the campus has witnessed the rise of the Student Resource Building, the Drama/Dance Replacement Building, Lot 22 Parking Structure, the East Gate Roundabout and the Mosher Alumni House. Campus Design and Facilities Associate Vice Chancellor Marc Fisher said by the end of 2008, the campus will also see construction for the San Clemente Graduate Student Housing project, Noble Hall, the Arts Building, the Loma Paloma multipurpose building at Manzanita Village and the new East Gate.
Capital Development Director Martie Levy said despite large campus expansions in the past, this current development is the largest and most expensive in the university’s history.
“What’s triggered this [growth] is [the fact that] it has been almost 20 years and the student body has grown from 12,000 to 20,000,” Levy said.
For the Long Haul
University of California campuses use what is known as the Long-Range Development Plan to strategize the creation of new facilities and services for a growing campus. The LRDP also defines how a campus will accommodate students and staff without excessively damaging coastal resources.
Fisher said the LDRP plan includes new academic buildings, additional faculty and staff, more student housing, new recreational space, higher quality public space and restoration of natural habitats, as well as modernized walkways, roads and bike paths.
“For example, we are proposing adding 5,000 beds of student housing and approximately 1,800 units of faculty and staff housing,” Fisher said.
UCSB representatives will present the campus’ LDRP to the University of California Board of Regents for certification this coming spring before it is submitted to the California Coastal Commission for approval. The CCC focuses on protecting California’s coastal environment and regulating the use of land and water in the coastal zone. Development and construction activities usually require a coastal permit from the CCC before staff can break ground. The CCC is particular about building plans and often requires groups to revise their proposals.
“The process of review with the California Coastal Commission should be six to 12 months,” Fisher said. “The first buildings proposed in the plan could begin construction after approvals from the Coastal Commission.”
The university’s plan, also known as UCSB Vision 2025, centers on university development for the next 20 years. During the last several months, Fisher said UCSB has presented its LRDP to the community at various meetings.
“The public reaction has been very favorable,” Fisher said. “The plan proposes a sustainable and forward thinking live-work model that the community is very interested in.”
Multi-Million Dollar Baby
The consulting and approval process by planners, deans, committees, the chancellor and the Board of Regents takes years, though the most challenging part about building and renovating UCSB facilities is the cost, despite the high revenue the university attains, Fisher said.
“The most difficult issue facing campus construction has been the escalation of cost over the past four years,” Fisher said. “This escalation has impacted our ability to move projects forward as quickly as we would like.”
Levy said building construction and maintenance is usually paid with mandated student fees, donations or bonds. Academic buildings are paid for through state approved funds and from private donations.
One structure funded largely by donations is the Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television and New Media, which is currently under development. The project received huge monetary gifts from such celebrities as “Law & Order” series creator Dick Wolf, UCSB alumnus and Oscar-winner Michael Douglas and “Cosby Show” producer Marcy Carsey.
Levy said the most expensive project under construction right now is the San Clemente student housing facility on El Colegio Road. The project has an estimated final cost of $143 million, making it the most expensive facility UCSB has ever built. Another project, concerning renovations and additions to the Davidson Library, will serve as the second most expensive building venture. The estimated $60 million library project will begin within the next two years.
Lean, Green Building Machine
As UCSB continues to expand campus facilities, it is also including energy efficient renovations to its list of projects. It is one of three universities in the nation participating in the pilot stage of the new energy efficient rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Leadership for in Energy and Environmental Design certification program includes awards for eco-friendly projects in two categories: new construction and building renovations. A LEED certified building must conserve water and energy, and reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, among other qualifications.
According the U.S. Green Building Council’s Web site, “LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. All certified projects receive a LEED plaque, which is the nationally recognized symbol demonstrating that a building is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to live and work.”
Fisher said UCSB’s Bren Hall is the first LEED certified green building in the UC system. Bren Hall received a platinum level LEED, the highest certification possible, and is the greenest laboratory building in the United States. He said it does not take longer to construct green buildings, nor does it cost much more.
“The Campus has made a commitment to achieve LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council at the Silver Level for all new campus buildings,” Fisher said. “In addition we are working to certify a group of 25 existing buildings in the LEED for Existing Buildings program as part of our commitment to improve existing buildings.”
The Destiny of Devereux
In addition to its green efforts, the university has also increased its size. UCSB recently purchased the remaining 33-acres of the Devereux Foundation land on Sept. 28, 2007. Fisher said the land will be developed but the Devereux School, a facility that provides residence and rehabilitation services for people with developmental disabilities or neurological disorders, will remain in its current location on the north knoll of the Devereux site as a long-term tenant to the university.
“A preliminary plan shows 90 units of housing on the north knoll and 200,000 gross square feet of academic space on the south knoll,” Fisher said. “The area north of Devereux includes approximately 50 units of housing, expansion space for childcare and additional campus recreation fields.”
The Devereux Slough, which is located on the Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve next to the newly purchased site, will not, however, see development. The Associated Students Coastal Fund recently allocated a $4,000 grant to the Devereux Slough Monitoring Program to create a database for animal and plant life as well as monitoring environmental conditions of the slough.
Levy said despite UCSB’s need to expand, preserving some natural environments is vital to the university.
“It is important to research programs and from a biological point of view,” Levy said. “It is also important to the ecology of the state of California.”
Isla Vista Dreamin’
The university is also taking part in developing Isla Vista. Levy said besides owning buildings in I.V., like I.V. Theater and Embarcadero Hall, the campus also enhances the community with other projects like leasing the land at no cost for the new Isla Vista Foot Patrol building, which will relocate from Pardall Road to 6504 Trigo Rd. The school is also intensely involved in the Isla Vista Master Plan.
“[The] Campus funded half of the Master Plan for I.V. so obviously we’re invested in I.V.” Levy said.
The 736-page long IVMP has been in the making since 2000, and will modernize I.V. by changing zoning codes, beautifying the downtown area and renovating parks and roadways throughout I.V.
Fisher said the new university housing buildings will help to relieve the impacted student residence halls and help to preserve the diverse community of students and families.
“I believe that the campus would prefer I.V. to develop as a diverse community,” Fisher said. “This diversity would include students, faculty and staff, as well as off-campus residents.”