After a several month hiatus, construction on UCSB’s Ocean Science Education Building is continuing under new management and could be completed as early as next month.

Construction was stalled last April after local contractor, Melchiori Construction Company, was removed from the project due to a noticeable lag in progress since construction was initially planned to conclude in August 2011. Under the management of a new general contractor, McGillivray Construction Inc. of Ventura, construction of UCSB’s multi-million dollar research facility resumed last November, and the building’s offices are slated to open in about a month at the soonest.

Located on the east side of campus on the corner of the Lagoon and University Center roads, the 15,000 square foot building will include two wings. One section will house the administrative offices for the Channel Islands. Sanctuary for the collaboration between UCSB researchers and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the other will contain an ocean outreach center to educate students of all ages on current ocean research.

According to Chancellor Henry T. Yang, the building will be home to the Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science. This center will be equipped with a variety of laboratories and interactive exhibits designed to reach out to the students and community.

“Our Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science, which we call OCTOS, is the future of educational outreach for our Marine Science Institute,” Yang said. “Our outreach center will take advantage of the latest technology to engage students with frontier ocean science research and learning through a ‘Virtual Dive’ exhibit, experimental wet laboratories, an immersive digital theater and much more.”

Marc Fisher, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Campus Architect, said the environmentally friendly, “green” building will be naturally ventilated and naturally lit. Architects for the building came from a San Francisco-based architecture, interiors, planning and urban design firm, EHDD. Jennifer Devlin, planner, designer and the co-managing principal of EHDD’s India studio, created the lead designs for the structure.

The building envelope, Fisher added, incorporates locally crafted Santa Barbara sandstone in combination with sustainable wood, plaster and glass. Strategically placed sunshades will allow expansive ocean views shielded from the sun’s glare. According to Fisher, an exterior courtyard will serve to welcome visitors and will eventually include an architecturally dynamic kelp tank. The building landscape includes plants from the Channel Islands and water cleansing stormwater features.

“This building joins a series of iconic buildings that define the outer edge of our campus,” Fisher said. “These include the Michael Graves Kohn Hall, Robert Venturi’s Elings Hall, CO Architects’ Engineering Science Building and the Barry Berkus Mosher Alumni House. It is very exciting to have this building added to our portfolio of significant campus buildings.”

Through this project, according to Yang, the University hopes to draw on the talents of the undergraduate science and education students, as well as future teachers from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, to reach out to thousands of K-12 students, teachers, families and community members each year. Yang said they will be able to connect to world-leading ocean science research taking place at UCSB with the public in a creative and dynamic way.

“We are fortunate to have an extraordinary campus location, right at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, providing unique opportunities for research, education and outreach,” Yang said. “No place on campus will embody these goals more than OCTOS, with its front door just a few steps from the Santa Barbara Channel.”



A version of this article appeared on page 3 of the May 2st, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus