UC Santa Barbara’s Interactive Learning Pavilion opened its doors to students Spring Quarter 2023 following over two years of construction since October 2020, garnering excitement and feedback from the campus community.

The first new classroom building on UCSB’s campus in 50 years, the 95,000-square-foot structure touts 28 rooms, including five lecture halls, three “project based learning classrooms” and a number of “flex classrooms,” which are modular spaces that allow for non-traditional arrangements of furniture, according to Media Relations Manager Kiki Reyes. 

The 95,000-square-foot structure touts five lecture halls, three “project based learning classrooms” and “flex classrooms.” Maddy Fangio / Daily Nexus

The building provides 2,000 seats of classroom space, increasing the university’s classroom capacity by 35%, according to The Current

The Interactive Learning Pavilion (ILP) also features two student lounges on the third and fourth floors, power outlets under outdoor handrail tables and under lecture hall tables and lecture hall desks that rotate 180 degrees to encourage group collaboration. 

“The new building distinguishes itself from other campus structures with its general assignment classrooms that are available to all students, meaning students of all majors have a fair opportunity to have classes in the ILP,” Reyes said. 

There are still aspects of the project that remain unfinished. Reyes predicts that the project will officially close in the next few months and that the total cost of the project may fall under the $97 million budget the UC Office of the President initially approved.

Unfinished details of the ILP project focus on maintaining the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems as well as the general air balance in the rooms, according to Reyes. 

“They anticipate that there may still be some technical issues related to negative pressure and door closures as they continue to finalize,” Reyes said in an email statement to the Nexus. “The project team will continue to work with the contractors to complete the work and make corrections based on our inspections of all building systems. Most of the work will occur on Saturdays to not disrupt occupancy and classes during the week.”

Reyes said campus community feedback regarding the ILP has been largely positive. 

“The feedback from students, faculty, and staff regarding the building has been quite positive so far,” she said in an email statement to the Nexus. “The amount of space in the rooms ranks high on the list of feedback.”

Second-year environmental studies major Victoria Huizar provided positive feedback about the new building’s offerings.

“I really like the sitting areas,” she said. “There’s such a variety, and it’s nice, not only aesthetically but also just it being really comfy.” 

Third-year biology major Katelyn Harker echoed Huizar’s sentiment, particularly praising the abundance of outdoor seating areas the ILP features. 

“I think it’s very nice to have all these outdoor seating areas — I definitely feel like it’s helped with how impacted the library gets sometimes, and I like being outside a lot more,” she said. “I’ve been here literally almost every day since it opened. It’s nice to have breaks on campus and sit outside and get some work done and have some sun.” 

The building also features two student lounges, power outlets under outdoor handrail tables and under lecture hall tables, among others. Maddy Fangio / Daily Nexus

Though expressing excitement about the new gender-neutral bathrooms on the first floor of the building, Harker noted that the signage of said bathrooms was not clear on it being gender-neutral, causing short-term confusion when she initially used them. 

“I was really confused, actually, because I didn’t know if I was in the wrong place, just because they didn’t use any sort of genderless [signs],” she said. “But it makes sense now; I like it.” 

Fourth-year environmental studies major Megan Musolf said she appreciated the ILP as the first classroom building on campus not dedicated to a specific department.

“I feel like I’ve been watching this building being built my entire time at UCSB,” Musolf said. “I think it’s awesome that the university finally decided to invest some money in a classroom building that theoretically all students on campus can benefit from.”

According to professor and Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology Department Chair Steve Smith, his students seem comfortable in the new classroom he’s teaching in this quarter. 

“The space feels good; the students’ experiences seem to be relatively comfortable,” Smith said. “It’s just exciting to be in the new space. I really, really enjoy the layout and technology seems really sweet.” 

There are a total of 28 rooms that are all in use at the ILP. Maddy Fangio / Daily Nexus

Smith said his lecture hall features three projectors that work simultaneously and praised the technological improvements in the ILP. 

“The classroom I’m in has three projectors going at the same time, and I’ve never had that,” he said. “[The room] also has a monitor projectors down in front so that I can actually see what’s on the slide without having to turn around, and I appreciate that.” 

Furthermore, Smith noted that the classroom structure is similar to a stadium and is longer in width than length in comparison to other building’s lecture halls, making it easier for students to hear him during the lecture. 

Smith then spoke to the greater look of the building, speaking positively about its structural design and its various amenities. 

“The building is really cool — it’s got a nice feel to it, [and it] sort of invites you into it,” he said. “The bathroom is phenomenal, and the little touches of having parking for skateboards and scooters is really cool. Certainly a lot of thought and design went into the design of the place.” 

Harker echoed Smith, applauding the building’s “futuristic” curves and its attention to providing outdoor areas for its occupants. 

“I love the way it looks — I feel like it’s really cool and futuristic,” she said. “I really like the outdoors, and it kind of matches the theme of the ocean … it feels wavy; it matches well.”

A point of concern for some campus members, however, is the erasure of the bike path that used to run through where ILP now stands.

Musolf reminisced on using the bike lane as a freshman and the extended route that now exists. 

“My freshman year, I used that bike path every single day, and now you have to bike on the road and go around the psych building and ILP,” Musolf said.

“A chalk-outlined bike lane was briefly drawn in the walking path between the ILP and library,” Smith said.

“One of the things that I noticed this morning was that somebody has drawn in a bike path that connects it to the far side [of campus] closer to Henley Gate,” Smith said. 

Smith said an alternative bike path should be made to connect the now separated bike paths near the ILP to ease the commute to classes for bicyclists. 

“There needs to be a bike path there; I’m totally on board with that,” he said. “It might behoove the university to look at linking those bike paths together in a way that makes a little bit more sense.” 

A version of this article appeared on p. 5 of the April 20, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Deputy News Editor, Community Outreach News Editor for the 2022-23 school year and the 2021-22 school year and an Assistant News Editor during the 2020-21 school year. They can be reached at asumishuda@dailynexus.com or news@dailynexus.com.
Sindhu Ananthavel
Sindhu Ananthavel (she/they) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Ananthavel was the Deputy News Editor for the 2022-23 school year, the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2021-22 school year and an assistant news editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at news@dailynexus.com.