The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

UCSD Continues Construction of New Housing and Campus Facilities

UCSD+Continues+Construction+of+New+Housing+and+Campus+Facilities
Image by Millie Root for The UCSD Guardian

Numerous construction projects are currently underway this fall quarter throughout UC San Diego’s main campus and off-campus locations​​. The list of projects currently in progress is available on the UCSD website for planning, design, and construction

Thurgood Marshall College sophomore Vikram Tholudur lives in the Marshall College upper apartments right across from one of the large construction sites. 

“Walking around campus with the construction is probably the worst part just because around other parts of campus the views are amazing, but as you walk through Marshall College, it is a little more depressing,” Tholudur said. 

In response to potential concerns about the pace and scale of expansion at UCSD, Associate Director of University Communications Leslie Sepuka responded that “providing student housing on campus at below-market rates enhances the student experience but also helps lighten local traffic and frees up housing in a very tight local housing market.” 

Further, Sepuka underscored the importance of the construction throughout UCSD. 

“With these projects, the university will continue to make progress toward a four-year undergraduate housing guarantee at below-market rates for comparable units,” she said. 

Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood:

The Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, home of the new Eighth College, had initially been planned to open in its entirety at the start of this quarter. However, the Theatre District partially opened this Fall Quarter with only one out of five buildings completed and ready for use. This means that there are only 343 beds available in the residence halls as opposed to the planned 2,000 beds. Sepuka explained that the remaining four buildings will open in phases, starting in early 2024. Once completed, the new Living and Learning Neighborhood will open with new facilities for students. 

“[The completed project will include] additional housing for undergrad students, a market hall, convenience retailers, improvements to Ridge Walk, parking for approximately 1,200 vehicles, and an enhanced valet/drop-off area for the theatre patrons in the adjacent Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre District,” Sepuka said.

In response to questions about whether the delays for the Theatre District foretell delays for future projects, Sepuka said that “the majority of campus projects are completed on schedule and the team is continuously learning,” and that “the primary reason for the delay was a hold up in receiving prefabricated materials compounded by supply chain issues and a record raining season.” 

Pepper Canyon West:

The Pepper Canyon West construction project will focus on creating 1,300 more beds for transfer students and upper-division undergraduate students. 

The neighborhood, located near the UCSD Central Campus Station, will have two towers, one with 22 stories and the other with 23. Sepuka noted that Pepper Canyon West will be located next to a new market scheduled to open next summer with a gourmet grocery, Camino Farms, and a locally sourced fresh Mexican eatery, Pichudo Mexican Grill. 

One of the major goals for the university during the construction has been to make sure that construction is sustainable and eco-friendly, which is exemplified in the construction of Pepper Canyon West. 

“Pepper Canyon West includes low-flow water fixtures and drought tolerant landscaping to save water … the project also optimizes natural ventilation and daylight to reduce demand for mechanical ventilation and electricity,” Sepuka said. 

Not only is the final product designed to reduce waste and emissions, but the university has tried to make sure the construction process itself is sustainable. 

“Construction waste is reduced by fabricating some building elements off-site. For example, each residence features California-made prefabricated bathroom and kitchen units which help to reduce waste with water-efficient features,” Sepuka said. 

Hillcrest Redevelopment:

Located just north of Downtown San Diego in the Hillcrest neighborhood, the UC San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest is also undergoing construction. The teaching hospital is one of two medical centers in the UC San Diego health system, along with the Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla. It is one of two Level 1 Trauma Centers in the San Diego area, meaning that the hospital has the resources to treat complex traumatic injuries. 

Architect and Program Manager of the Hillcrest Redevelopment Rod Barker explained that the redevelopment will include many new facilities to improve the medical center. 

“Once the entire project is completed, the site will include a new 400+ bed hospital, workforce housing for the medical center employees, a new much larger parking structure, new road improvements, new Outpatient facility, and finally a new research/office building that contains a community wellness center,” Barker said.

Because of the essential nature of the hospital, the construction and redevelopment necessitate a phased approach. 

“We just simply need to build the new hospital before the old one is taken offline. There are a few other reasons, but it really boils down to this simple fact,” Barker said.

The phased approach means that the entire project is planned to take place over 15 years, and by the completion of the project, most of the existing buildings will have been replaced. The first phase of the project is still expected to be completed on time in July 2025. 

Dining:

UCSD has also been revamping some of the dining facilities across campus. Namely, Café Ventanas has reopened with a renovated interior. 

Construction is also ongoing at Price Center. The completed project will have canopies for shade, built-in heaters, background music, and enhanced landscaping. 

Included within the renovations of Price Center, Sepuka noted an easter egg. 

Those with an affinity for music may notice that the paver pattern in the main walkway is presented with a series of bars that mimic the notes of the Triton Fight Song.”

The construction at Price Center is set to be completed by the beginning of December.

While the ongoing construction may pose an inconvenience to some students, Tholudur expressed optimism for the future. 

“The future of the campus is the reason that I am okay with the construction. You can’t improve the campus architecturally without construction. I just hope I’m still here to see it when it’s done,” Tholudur said.

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About the Contributors
Carter Castillo
Carter Castillo, News Editor
Second year Comparative Politics Major and passionate student journalist. Proud owner of a 2012 Toyota Prius.
Millie Root
Millie Root, Photo Editor
Millie loves the way light reflects off bus windows, artisenal teas, and community co-ops. Join Millie on the journey of a lifetime to tell important stories with amazing photographs.
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