UCSB Associated Students representatives met with property developers last week regarding rental space and development plans, furthering the organization’s goal to create an Isla Vista Annex.
The project seeks to establish a new office space to house various groups such as the Family Literacy Program, provide student study spaces and expand the institute’s presence within the community. Properties under consideration include the former Super Cucas location on Trigo Road and a plot on Seville Road.
A.S. members met with the property developer of the Trigo location and reviewed floor plans for the five-story unit under construction at the location.
According to A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs Tim Benson, the facility has available space on its first floor and is the first choice for the annex’s location.
“The developer came and laid out the floor plan and we loved it,” Benson said. “It’s a very transparent site and it’s right across from where I.V. Theater is. Also, we would no longer have the signage issues that we currently do with some of the other organizations that are currently in I.V.”
Despite its 2013 completion date, Benson said the Seville property is also under consideration.
“We have discussed a close involvement with the Seville property, of being involved earlier in the game — basically becoming co-developers — and eventually using that space for the Annex,” Benson said. “Our priority right now is looking at renting the Cucas location, which will be done by next fall.”
A.S. President Harrison Weber said the grass area between the Student Resource Building and Parking Lot 23 is scheduled for development and presents yet another potential location.
“Given its proximity to Isla Vista and campus, it would be a good study space and place to house a few entities that we’re thinking of,” Weber said.
Benson said his office is handling the prospects to ensure the project is successful.
“We want to tread carefully as this is such an ambitious process,” Benson said. “We don’t want to do it unless it is airtight. There was that whole A.S. Café fiasco last year and we don’t want to move forward with anything unless we know it’s going to be a really efficient process.”
Fourth-year economics major Hanna Norrlid said the organization should consider the price of the space in relation to its usefulness for students.
“It’s good for A.S. to have a presence in I.V., but it depends on how it’s paid for,” Norrlid said. “School here is expensive and hopefully they find a way to budget for it without asking students for more money. Is the benefit of having an annex in Isla Vista worth the cost of the extra space?”
A.S. will conduct a survey at the end of the quarter to gauge students’ interest in the project, according to Weber.
Although the organization has historically struggled to secure finances for the project, Benson said he intends to avoid relying on a new student lock-in fee.
“Students pay a lot of money for A.S. and we don’t want to tack on any more fees,” Benson said. “There are capital reserves we can look at — budgets within subgroups and such — and there is also the option of taking some money out of various organizations within the umbrella of A.S.”
Earlier this year, UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang mandated that A.S. gain the UC Regents’ approval before signing a lease in Isla Vista.
Benson said the organization has yet to clarify whether this could present a roadblock.
“It’s not been approved by the Regents yet, but I’m not sure if this will be an issue or not,” Benson said. “We already have properties in Isla Vista so it should go smoothly, but at this point it’s still hard to say exactly.”