UC Santa Barbara’s first new classrooms in over 50 years are set to open Winter Quarter 2023 upon the completion of the Interactive Learning Pavilion. The 95,000-square-foot learning hub has been under construction since October 2020 with the hopes that it will help address longstanding classroom shortages.
UCSB has not constructed a building dedicated to new classroom space since the opening of Buchanan Hall in 1967. Sitting adjacent to the university’s Library mall, the four-story Interactive Learning Pavilion will feature five new lecture halls, three active learning spaces and 20 classrooms.
The project was approved by the Regents in 2019, with the vast majority of the $97 million price tag stemming from appropriations earmarked in the 2019-20 State Budget. The campus itself is contributing only 18% of the building’s cost, which is approximately $17.3 million.
The Learning Pavilion is structured as two connected buildings brought together by walkways and terraces, with the open-air nature between various classrooms being a central element of the project, according to UCSB Media Relations Manager Kiki Reyes.
“With an open-air central circulation, all the circulation edges are woven into the fabric of the campus, encouraging interactions among students and faculty, and creating spaces for informal connections in the building and around it,” Reyes said in an email statement to the Nexus. “We expect it to be a destination for up to 2,000 students per hour, so circulation to, around, and inside the building is critical to the design’s success.”
To facilitate the daily flow of thousands of students into the building, there will be an area east of the building dedicated to storing over 2,000 bikes. The updated bike path and parking lot have been organized to preserve some existing trees, with the building itself designed to feature an existing redwood tree.
The Learning Pavilion is still on track for occupancy in Spring Quarter 2023 according to Reyes, who added that construction “has been going well.” C.W. Driver Companies, the construction company tasked with making the building a reality, has been making steady progress since they broke ground on the project in October 2020.
Crews are currently working on the installation of the exterior wall cladding and stairs, along with a number of installations and tests related to the building’s energy and water systems.
The project aims to register for gold certification under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The UC’s Sustainable Practices Policy maintains that new buildings include sustainable measures needed to achieve LEED Silver certification, and UCSB’s campus standard is gold certification, according to Reyes.
Upon its completion, the Interactive Learning Pavilion will host over 25% of the UCSB’s classroom inventory, with the university expecting that incoming first-years will spend more than a year of their classroom instruction inside the building.