University Lays the Groundwork for New Campus Entry Point

Announcing the New Design and Innovation Building on Friday, Oct. 25, UC San Diego laid out the groundwork to construct a new community entry point for the university. Located on the east side of main campus by Russell and Lyman Lanes, the Pepper Canyon Neighborhood construction project, expected to finish in 2021, will include the aforementioned building as well as an open-air amphitheater and new transfer-student housing. 

The university plans to utilize the area’s location as a connection point with its planned extension complex in Park and Market in downtown San Diego and the local communities in San Ysidro. With the UCSD Blue Line on the under construction light rail, people from throughout San Diego will have an easy access point to the university. 

“What’s amazing about this building is that it will draw in courses and connections with every discipline on campus,” Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Simmons said in her speech on Friday. “It will draw students into interdisciplinary teams to design, create, and think about how to put out into the world, in an entrepreneurial fashion, things that address social needs and artistic expression … The building is going to anchor an entire area of campus that is focused on arts and innovation and the student experience.”

With the UCSD Blue Line, the Pepper Canyon Neighborhood is intended to be closely tied with community uplift initiatives at the extension. While the extension will have many of the similar entrepreneurial opportunities as the Innovation Building, it will also have an additional role of providing education programs on the arts. 

The Innovation Building will house the design program at UCSD and become a beacon for the school to attract innovators throughout San Diego. The building will work in conjunction with other entrepreneurial programs on campus like The Basement and The Design Lab

“We chose [to promote] a design and entrepreneurial mindset and sandwich the maker lab between the two,” Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said in his speech. “The community will have access to this maker lab but we’re still working out the structures for this. You can see how programs like these are built to bring the community out here, tying to the programs at Park and Market and further down south.” 

In addition to advocating for these programs, UCSD also built a 2,000 person open-air amphitheater to host free programs, created by students, faculty, and outside professionals, for the community. Moreover, the artwork around the neighborhood will attempt to be representative of the university’s multicultural background. 

“The way this is going to work is that you’re going to step down and walk on an Ann Hamilton Stuart Art Collection piece,” Khosla said. “But in front of you, you will see art that represents Native American culture, murals that represent Chicano culture, and African American graffiti. We are going to use our wall space so that you would know that when you walk on this campus, there is a piece of you here.”

The neighborhood will have a 1,400 bed housing complex for transfer students. With these innovations, UCSD is trying to make the area a new center of campus while also being a major point of entry with the light rail line. 

“The building will be steps away from Pepper Canyon Station of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley extension­­ and these projects along with other new facilities in the area will act as an inviting ‘foyer,’ welcoming everyone to campus,” UCSD spokeswoman Christine Clark said in an email to the UCSD Guardian. “The Design and Innovation Building and adjacent new amphitheater, as well as the upcoming Pepper Canyon West housing, will dazzle the senses with the dynamic, creative energy of UC San Diego.”

The announcement event also displayed other projects from the Basement and Design Lab in its “Innovation Showcase” to exemplify the type of ideas which would be promoted at the new facilities. The expo had projects like new technologies for cleaning waterways in the ocean and a system that would facilitate more specialized antibiotics prescriptions for patients. 

Construction for the neighborhood and the light rail is expected to be finished by spring of 2021.

Photo courtesy of UC San Diego.

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