[Currents header graphic]

October 5, 1998

New buildings hinge on passage of school-bond measure

By Francine Tyler

When California voters weigh in on a $9.2 billion school-bond measure in November, they will decide the fate of two major building projects of
The Interdisciplinary Sciences Building would be occupied by Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Environmental Studies. Its construction would also benefit other academic units--such as Film and Video, Engineering, and McHenry Library--by freeing up space currently occupied in Kerr Hall.
vital importance to the welfare of UCSC's natural and social science programs.

Proposition 1A, which will appear on the November 3 ballot, is the largest school-bond measure in the history of any state. It includes $2.5 billion for higher education facilities and $6.7 billion for K-12 facilities over a four-year period.

For UCSC, passage of the bond measure would help pay for the construction of the planned Interdisciplinary Sciences Building and for both planning and construction of the Physical Sciences Building. The buildings would address current needs for more teaching, research, and office space, and make it possible for the campus to expand its programs in natural and social sciences and in engineering.

"The passage of the bond measure is absolutely critical to the well-being and future growth of our science programs," said David Kliger, dean of the Natural Sciences Division.

If the bond measure passes, the UC system as a whole would receive approximately $210 million per year in capital outlay funds over the next four years. The money would be spent to correct seismic deficiencies, repair and modernize aging buildings, and construct new facilities to accommodate rapidly growing enrollments systemwide. UC's long-term facility needs are estimated to total more than $400 million annually.

"Our needs are urgent, and this measure is an absolutely vital means of addressing them," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson.

During the 1998-99 fiscal year (the first year of the bond issue), the UCSC campus would receive approximately $17.7 million.

The majority of that funding--$14.8 million--would help pay for construction of the new Interdisciplinary Sciences Building with teaching laboratories, offices, and conference space for UCSC's Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Environmental Studies Departments. As currently envisioned, the four-story, $17.5 million building would be built as an addition to the eastern end of Natural Sciences 2.

After the 1998-99 year--and pending approval by the governor and legislature in future state budgets--the bond would provide $45.7 million to plan and build the Physical Sciences Building. The building would serve UCSC's Chemistry Department, environmental toxicology program, and programs for the new Jack Baskin School of Engineering.

The new Physical Sciences Building would provide classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, and offices for faculty and graduate students. It is proposed that bond money would pay for preliminary plans, working drawings, and construction of the 78,500-assignable-square-foot building, which has been preliminarily sited in the parking lot area north of Sinsheimer Labs.

"We need both these buildings because UCSC is currently limited in the amount of space it has and will be growing in its number of students," said Kliger.

"The proposed Physical Sciences Building is particularly important because there are important health and safety concerns about the space we now have available in our chemistry laboratories," he added. "In order to meet current health and safety standards for chemistry and toxicology, we must have a modern building."

Chemistry and environmental toxicology are currently housed in Thimann and Sinsheimer Laboratories. Ventilation systems in Thimann in particular are "woefully inadequate" for the research that is carried out, said Kliger.

An added benefit of the new buildings is that they would free up room in existing buildings for other academic programs, such as biology, that need additional space, Kliger said.

Passage of the bond would also provide an additional $2.9 million in the 1998-99 year for the second phase of construction on improvements to facilities on Mt. Hamilton, where the UCSC-managed Lick Observatory is located. The observatory is a multicampus research unit that provides the primary astronomical instruction and research observation facilities for six University of California campuses. Because of the age and location of the facilities, some of the infrastructure serving the facilities has become a public health and safety risk.

Work started this spring on the $5.8 million project, which includes replacing septic and heating systems in residences, removing underground fuel tanks, reconstructing roadways, and upgrading the fire alarm and electrical systems. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2000.

For additional information:

To the Currents home page

To UCSC's home page