Millions allocated for campus buildings

Despite a UC budget shortfall expected next year, several construction projects are slated to begin at UCSD in 2002, according to the capital-improvement budget approved by the UC Board of Regents in early November.

Rebecca Drexler
Guardian

In the budget, UCSD’s Engineering Building Unit 3B is listed as the University of California’s top capital-improvement priority in the 2002-2003 fiscal year. The computer science and engineering facility will require $41.2 million of state funds, and its construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2002.

EBU 3B will be a component of the new plaza of engineering buildings in Earl Warren College to be completed by the end of 2004. Other construction projects in the plaza include the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology, the construction of which will begin at about the same time, as well as biotechnology facility EBU 3A, the construction of which began in 2001. Preliminary planning for EBU 4 will begin in the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

The 87,000-square-foot EBU 3B will house the computer science and engineering department, and will also offer space to other engineering disciplines, the Warren college provost and the Warren College Writing Program.

The EBU facilities’ construction take up $35.3 million of the 2002-2003 capital-improvements budget.

For the 2002-2003 budget, $334 million is expected to come from general obligation bonds. Because the current G.O.B. expires June 30, 2002, a bill for a new two- or four-year G.O.B. is in the works so that a bond initiative can be proposed in the March 2002 statewide election. University officials are skeptical that the bill will pass the legislature and the election before the existing G.O.B. expires.

“”The hope was that the bond would go to the voters in March 2002,”” said Brian Gregory, director of capital planning at UCSD.

“”The passing of the bond measure is essential so that there was no gap in funding. Given there’s a budget crisis, it appears now that the idea is to go to the voters in November 2002.””

Patricia Romero, a spokesperson from the UC Office of the President’s budget division, said that due to the state’s inability to sell bonds following the expiration of the current GOB, the state might resort to funding UC capital improvements by issuing lease revenue bonds.

Gregory was also aware of the possible need to find other funding sources.

“”We’re trying to do whatever we can to continue planning buildings and to somehow substitute funding for construction,”” he said.

Other budget allocations were made toward UCSD projects for the coming year. Romero said these projects may also need funding from lease revenue bonds.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences Building will undergo construction in 2003 and drawings are currently in progress. The $17 million building will be located behind the existing School of Medicine on Osler Lane.

The police department is scheduled to move into a new Campus Emergency Services Facility after its tentatively scheduled construction beginning in 2003. The facility will be located adjacent to the Campus Services Complex at Gilman Drive and Voigt Drive.

Improvements to west campus utility infrastructure will begin in 2003 to ease the added strain on utilities caused by the new engineering buildings.

Plans for the Student Academic Services Facility, to be located in the University Center, and a $17 million renovation and addition to the Biomedical Library are also in progress.

State general funds account for two-thirds of the money needed to complete the California Institutes of Science and Innovation project, which includes the Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology that will be located in Warren college.

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