The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a renovation budget of approximately $335,000 for the Isla Vista Clinic building on Tuesday to refurbish and lease currently vacant office spaces.
The planned renovations will allow for additional tenants to lease office spaces in the building, one-third of which is currently used by I.V. Clinic. Of the nine organizations who applied for a lease, Santa Barbara County general services staff chose the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Regents of the University of California and Isla Vista Youth Projects Inc. for the clinic. All three are slated to sign five-year leases and to agree to a three percent annual rent increase.
Santa Barbara County Assistant Director for General Services Greg Chanis said the county assumed ownership of the building last summer and chose these three specific nonprofit organizations to best serve community needs.
“There was a lot of community support for the county to retain ownership of the building,” Chanis said. “Based on that, the county is really working on having the building be a community asset.”
According to the Board of Supervisors’ proposal for the clinic renovations, the Regents will lease space to set up offices for a variety of campus mental health services available to students and I.V. residents. Resources will include Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (C.A.R.E.), Counseling & Psychological Services (C.A.P.S.) and Student Mental Health Coordination Services (SMHCS).
Third-year literature and sociology major and former C.A.R.E. student staff member Emily Potter said expanding C.A.R.E.’s services in I.V. will be beneficial to non-students seeking support.
“I think it will be excellent for the community to have a space like CARE in Isla Vista,” Potter said in an email. “CARE’s services are not just limited to UCSB students so I’m really excited at the possibility that the additional location will let students from SBCC and other community members with a need for advocacy resources to feel they have better access to them.”
Potter said the community will benefit greatly from the renovation of these spaces, as this means there will be room for the expansion of mental health services in I.V.
“It will allow services like CARE to expand because of the additional space and I think there is a great need for that, so the opportunity for the growth of the program is great too,” Potter said in email.
Isla Vista Youth Projects Inc. Fiscal Manager and Board Member Arthur Kennedy said the leased office space will be used for the organization’s administrative needs, though they are also considering incorporating other services such as a weekly family resource center.
“We need the space, because we only have about four office workers in our Goleta office,” Kennedy said. “But we are considering having a weekly family resource center availability within these offices as well as other services.”
According to Chanis, renovations are underway and tenants are expected to move into the office spaces in July.
“We’re finishing up the exterior stairwell, and are nearly completed with the roof,” Chanis said. “So the interior and exterior are undergoing renovations that should open up the space for the tenants.”
Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said while the I.V. Clinic renovations will provide necessary services, she plans to develop a community center in the building adjacent to the clinic that formerly housed the Saint Athanasius church.
“It’s not the space that we want as a community center — we are still looking for the moment to do that at the rehabilitation of a former church building,” Farr said. “The tenants should be meeting this summer at the new fiscal year and then I’m turning my attention to rehabilitating the church to turn into a community center.”
A version of this story appeared on page 4 of teh Thursday May 14, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.