Following the completion of several major projects, UCSB’s Campus Design and Facilities Dept. is entering a bit of a dry spell.
This week, UCSB’s new Pollock Theater makes its debut as the third and final structure in the Education, Social Sciences and Media Studies complex. The long-awaited ESSMS area opened in the fall, forming a 209,750 square foot zone of classrooms, offices and facilities on the west side of campus. Vice Chancellor for Campus Design and Facilities Marc Fisher said the film venue is a unique addition to Santa Barbara and the campus’ cultural life.
“It’s a very beautiful space,” Fisher said. “With the state-of-the-art stadium-style seating, it’s a little like the ones downtown in Santa Barbara, but also a little nicer. Also, this is the only theater in town that can show vintage films.”
A small building addition to Engineering 2 is also set to open this quarter, featuring a solid state lighting lab and offices. Meanwhile, the campus planning committee recently moved forward with studies assessing the construction impact of rebuilding or renovating several university sites.
The ESSMS complex, located across from Robertson Gym and just east of the intersection of Ocean Road and El Colegio Road, is made up of three separate buildings that serve as the new home for the Koegel Autism Center, the Hosford Counseling & Psychological Services Clinic, the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education and several departments in the College of Letters and Science. Pollock Theater is part of the Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television & New Media.
Fisher noted that the theater — a unique 98 seat film venue capable of screening vintage films — received all of its funding through outside donations. Fisher said the Pollock Theater lobby was named the Michael Douglas Lobby in recognition of the Hollywood actor and UCSB alum’s donations to the project.
Additionally, the three new ESSMS buildings had a majority of their $101.85 million construction costs covered by a series of State General Obligation Bonds approved by voters in 2002, 2004 and 2006 initiative ballots. These bonds contributed a total of $81.02 million, but the remaining $20.82 million came in the form of private donations to the university.
According to Fisher, Pollock Theater, like all the ESSMS buildings, incorporated a variety of environmentally-friendly features in its design, including special vertical shutters designed to reduce the need for air conditioning. And not only is the theater a ‘green’ building from its sustainable design, it literally has a green room built into it for video work and guest presentations.
For the future, Fisher said several proposals are on the table to rebuild or renovate a number of campus structures and infrastructures, but the slow trickle of state and university funds has ensured that construction will be light for the remainder of this year.
“We’re kind of in the slow period,” Fisher said. “I heard in late December that we may find dollars for the art project — we will most likely be renovating the whole art building complex in the spring. After that, we’re moving pretty slow, like the rest of the world.”
Nevertheless, Fisher said, his department will be working to make small improvements for the comfort of the student body during the lull in major construction impacts. The corridor spanning campus between Davidson Library and The Arbor will undergo infrastructure renewal this spring, with the existing lawn and seating area expanded and improved due to the popularity of the spot for students.
“This is the start of one of the large corridors planned for in the Long Range Development Plan,” Fisher said. “It’s going to be nicer, with more pavement, permeable pavement, more lawn area for people to sit on, more native trees, palm trees… I think it’s going to be a really nice piece of open space.”