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UC RIVERSIDE: Transformative expansion plan in the works

The first phase of improvements is Multidisciplinary Research Building 1. Slated for construction between the campus’ Materials Sciences and Engineering Buildings and the Student Recreation Center, the facility would accommodate about 50 faculty members.

With up to 90,000 square feet of usable space, it would include offices, laboratories and space for plant and animal research, according to university documents.

The building would be modeled after a biomedical research facility at UC San Diego. The labs would be an open-bay configuration that allows research teams from different fields to collaborate. Currently, about 80 percent of the space in UCR’s 24 research buildings consists of enclosed labs.

The budget, financial details and design for the building will be submitted next year, followed by construction in the fall. Completion is set for 2018.

Longer term, university leaders also are looking at a second multidisciplinary research building and an engineering building that would house about 80 faculty members.

Though they haven’t yet decided on a location, school officials are eying the southeast part of campus. Some of the greenhouses there now may be moved to the agricultural area on the other side of Interstate 215.

With the completion of the two research buildings and the engineering facility, UCR will have 250,000 square feet of research space. That will bring the campus from 729 square feet per faculty member to about 1,032 square feet, closer to the UC system-wide average of 1,140 square feet.

Nearby will be the proposed arena, or campus events center, informally dubbed the C-Center. It will likely find a home around that student housing zone off Linden Avenue.

Arena discussions in past years centered around locating it elsewhere, possibly at Iowa Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard, and at the Bannockburn Village off Canyon Crest Drive.

Other changes in the works:

• Possible construction of buildings for the medical school, School of Public Policy and Business School in the foothills south of South Campus Drive, and research facilities on the east side of that road.

• Extensive renovation of existing buildings will help accommodate about a third of the new hires; others will be housed in leased space off campus. Facilities slated for improvements are the interiors of Batchelor and Pierce halls, the Boyce Vivarium, Fawcett Laboratory, and two School of Medicine research buildings.

• A new student health center is being considered for the west side of campus, near UCR Extension, to replace Highlander Hall and a human resources office that were damaged by fire. Student Health Services are now housed in the Veitch Student Center, east of the engineering building.

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From the same article:

The direction of development has changed since the last long-term plan was completed 10 years ago, said Barbara Lloyd, project manager for the campus’ ongoing expansion study.

The focus now is on improving the campus’ academic center, rather than expanding to university-owned property on the west side of Interstate 215, she said.

“The shift in thinking now is to invest in the core campus where there is existing infrastructure and where there can be faculty-student interaction across disciplines. Investing in north campus is a good use of resources,” Lloyd said.

The challenge is to create as much usable space as possible in a compact footprint, she said.
This is definitely a substantial shift in strategy. The university's last long-range development plan envisioned completely transforming the agricultural research fields around Chicago and MLK into a new mixed-use village. I don't know if this means those plans are totally scrapped now or just sort of shelved for some point further down the line.
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