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Budget Crisis May Delay UCR Building Projects

California’s Senate and Assembly Subcommittees on Education Delete Nearly $20 million in UC Riverside Construction Projects

Cuts Would Endanger Campus Progress

(May 30, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- California's Senate and Assembly Subcommittees on Education have deleted nearly $20 million in funding for three building projects at UC Riverside, threatening campus development at a critical time.

The cuts are not final until the state budget is signed, typically after July 1, but the potential loss of the new Environmental Health and Safety building, utility improvements at Batchelor Hall and a new Engineering building to house bioengineering programs would be a significant blow to expected progress.

“These buildings are necessary for the research and teaching missions of the campus,” said Al Diaz, vice chancellor for administration. “If they are deferred it will undoubtedly lead to higher costs.”

The current Environmental Health and Safety facility has been in use since 1989, when UCR’s enrollment was less than 8,200 students. This is a campuswide resource that handles the storage and safe removal of toxic chemicals. A delay in completion will constrain UCR’s research enterprise. The campus had requested $16.6 million in funding. Plans have been completed for a building that would provide 19,500 assignable square feet of office and laboratory space.

Batchelor Hall, built in 1965, is in need of upgrades to keep up with modern research needs. The funding request was $716,000 for working drawings.

Engineering III, slated to house UCR’s growing bioengineering program, had a funding request of $2.2 million for preliminary building plans.

"UCR will have difficulty recruiting and retaining faculty and students for the program if we were delayed in completing this building,” said Engineering Dean Reza Abbaschian. “This in turn would result in impacts to the State’s knowledge based economy, and regional economic benefits from the construction of the building itself.”

Two other UCR requests, for more than $5 million in equipment for two nearly completed buildings, Student Academic Support and Materials Science, have so far been allowed to continue forward.

Deleted projects
Environmental Health and Safety Expansion
2008-09 request: $16,619,000 for working drawings and construction
Purpose: 19,500 sf for required office and laboratory needs.
Impacts: Growth in UCR’s research enterprise and evolving regulatory compliance requirements are overburdening the existing facility. Without the new building, required staff will not be accommodated, and waste handling/storage capabilities will be severely constrained. UCR’s research enterprise and ability to safely store and process hazardous waste will be negatively impacted as a result. In addition, regional economic impacts from the construction of the building will not be realized.

Batchelor Hall Building Systems Renewal
2008-09 request: $716,000 for working drawings
Purpose: Corrects code deficiencies and upgrades building utility systems to support contemporary research in this 57,300 asf facility.
Impacts: Originally constructed in 1965, this building has become deficient relative to changing life safety, building code, and research needs. Deferring the project will exacerbate risk for occupants and their research, and will constrain UCR’s ability to recruit/retain research teams in the life sciences, with associated impacts to the State’s knowledge based economy.

Engineering Building Unit 3
2008-09 request: $2,208,000 for preliminary plans
Purpose: Provides 53,500 sf of research labs, faculty offices, and teaching labs to support UCR’s emerging Bioengineering program.
Impacts: Without this project, faculty and students associated with UCR’s Bioengineering program could not be accommodated.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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