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Groundbreaking for New UCR Chemistry Building Set for April 8

Groundbreaking for New UCR Chemistry Building Set for April 8

(April 7, 1999)

The groundbreaking for a three-story, $14 million chemistry building at the University of California, Riverside - the first of five new science buildings to be constructed on campus by the year 2005 - is set for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at the southeast courtyard of Pierce Hall.

The beginning of the 15-month construction project on the Chemistry 2000 building will be marked symbolically by a "thermite" chemical reaction - a common laboratory demonstration in which two pieces of steel rebar will be welded together. The showy chemi cal reaction results in a small fireball with sparks.

Speakers at the groundbreaking will include: Raymond L. Orbach, UCR chancellor; Mike Clegg, dean of the UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences; Dallas Rabenstein, chair of the UCR Department of Chemistry; and Werner Kuhr, UCR professor of chemis try.

The nearly 27,000-square-foot "Chemistry 2000" building will provide new, state-of-the-art research facilities for the chemistry department. About a dozen research groups will be housed in the new building, making possible the expansion and remodeling of teaching laboratories in the existing Pierce Hall to accommodate enrollment in the sciences that is expected to grow at a 10 percent pace each year well into the next century. The new building will be adjacent to and connected with Pierce Hall.

(Constructed in 1966, Pierce Hall is named for W. Conway Pierce, the founding chair of UCR's then-Division of Physical Sciences. The 100,000-square-foot building houses the UCR Department of Chemistry, known internationally for its research programs in analytical, organic and physical chemistry. The department offers courses for its own undergrad uate and graduate students, as well as lower division courses for undergraduates in the physical and biological sciences, biomedicine and engineering.)

Following on the heels of the Chemistry 2000 construction will be groundbreaking next fall on a 65,000-square foot replacement of the entomology building, which has a poor seismic safety rating. That building is expected to be completed in 2002. A 24,000- square-foot multi-disciplinary laboratory center, targeted for 2003, will provide classroom laboratories for organic chemistry and research space for the biological and environmental sciences.

A new 110,000-square-foot physical sciences building serving environmental and physical chemistry, biochemistry and general chemistry is expected to be online in 2004. And, in 2005, a 30,000-square-foot addition to Spieth Hall will serve the biological sc iences.

Construction cost of the five new science buildings will total an estimated $144 million. Chemistry 2000 is the first new science building constructed on campus since the completion of Boyce Hall in 1974.

ProWest Construction Management Company of Temecula and the UCR Office of Design and Construction are managing the Chemistry 2000 building project. The campus is financing the cost of the new building.

Members of the news media are welcome to cover the groundbreaking. For more information, call Kathy Barton at (909) 787-2495 or send e-mail to

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.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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