University of California, Riverside

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Palm Desert Campus Frame Completed

Construction Crews Place Final Steel Beam on UCR’s Palm Desert Campus

Placement Marks Completion of Steel Frames for Two-Building Desert Campus

(April 30, 2004)

The Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management

The Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — Construction crews place the final steel beam onto the frame of the two-building Palm Desert Campus of the University of California, Riverside today.

The construction benchmark comes four months and two days after the start-of-construction ceremony for the campus, which is expected to open for classes in the fall of 2005. The UCR Palm Desert Campus is being built on 20 acres on the northeast corner of Cook Street and Frank Sinatra Drive by Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc. of San Diego, in cooperation with UC Riverside.

The Palm Desert Campus will serve as an international center for social, scientific, cultural, and technology education and research, in the Coachella Valley. Its programs will focus on entrepreneurial management, the physical and cultural environment, and their intersection, with the goal of meeting the challenges that affect communities experiencing rapid growth and change.

Initially the campus will comprise two centers for graduate and post-graduate education: the 21,209-square-foot Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management is funded through a $6 million donation from Richard J. Heckmann. A second, 23,600-square-foot education center is being built with $10 million in state support. It will address quality of life issues, with a focus on culture and the arts, regional policy, nonprofits, health services, health sciences, and science and engineering research, all with a management emphasis.

Centers for technology transfer, Native American studies, film and visual culture, and K-12 outreach will extend present efforts of the Riverside campus to the Coachella Valley.

The UCR Palm Desert Campus, in a unique partnership with the College of the Desert, Cal State San Bernardino, the city of Palm Desert and the desert community, and local businesses, will use the Coachella Valley as a model system to develop holistic approaches to meet the needs and challenges of rapidly growing regions; stimulate the local economy, including small businesses, through technology transfer and education in management practices; and preserve the area’s natural and cultural resources. The effort is also a prototype for how universities can extend their reach, address local issues through practice in the community and, at the same time, advance knowledge through multidisciplinary research.

The University of California, today considered the finest research university system in the world, began as an effort to strengthen and improve California’s fledgling agricultural economy. Its mission was, and is, to provide education and training through quality teaching, the highest level of research and a commitment to public service.

The core mission of research brought the UC to the Coachella Valley in the early 1900s, when university scientists worked alongside the valley’s pioneer farmers to establish and develop the region’s agricultural economy, a mainstay of the region’s economic base.


In the past century, UC faculty have been responsible for agricultural research that led to improved crop production, increased crop varieties, efficient water use, strategies for farming in saline soils, and the safe use of chemicals to control plant disease and exotic pests.

UC faculty helped eradicate the eye gnat problem in the Coachella Valley that seriously threatened the quality of life and the fledgling tourism economy. The eye gnat emerged as a serious problem in the region during the 1920s and was responsible for epidemics of bacterial conjunctivitis (pinkeye) in the Coachella Valley through the 1950s.

The problem became so pervasive that it brought down real estate values, shortened the tourist season, reduced labor efficiency and infected 227 of 228 children in Coachella schools in 1927.

Professor Herms of UC Berkeley was the first scientist to study the eye gnat in the Coachella Valley and through his leadership and the support of local citizens, the Coachella Valley Mosquito Abatement District was formed in 1928.
Other UC scientists from the-then Riverside Citrus Experiment Station took up the research and developed “gnat traps” identified effective soil insecticides and determined principal breeding sites.

Professor of Entomology Mir Mulla has spent 40 years at UC Riverside researching the problem and has introduced biological control strategies and new chemical insecticides to replace DDT. The problems is now largely under control.

Salton Sea Restoration

UC Riverside’s research mission has broadened to include such areas as the restoration of the Salton Sea. Scientists from UC campuses have been involved in research on the Salton Sea since 1953 when UCLA faculty, with U.S. Fish and Game, developed a sports fishery in the sea.

Various UC and UC Riverside faculty are still at work analyzing the nutrients in agricultural runoff that flows into the sea. UC Riverside was instrumental in the formation of the Salton Sea Research Management committee, established in 1997, and faculty continue to serve on the science subcommittee.

In 1998, The A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at UC Riverside, in partnership with U.S. Filter, conducted a cost-benefit analysis of a restored sea. This study led to increased funding for the analysis of solutions to the problems of the sea. UC Riverside faculty will be an important part of developing the science required for solving the problems of the Salton Sea and for monitoring any approaches adopted.

Deep Canyon Reserve

UC Riverside’s 16,000-acre Deep Canyon Reserve in Palm Desert has long been a premiere destination for faculty from around the world to study desert ecology, geology, anthropology, archeology, botany and biology. A gift from former Palm Springs Mayor and UC Regent, Philip Boyd in 1959, the Deep Canyon Reserve hosts faculty and graduate students each year who come to study desert flora and fauna. Research conducted at the reserve informs such policy decisions as the Multi-Species Habitat Plan.

Geothermal Research

UC Riverside faculty in the earth sciences studied the first deep core drilling research in the 1960s that led to the creation of the geothermal production plants near the Salton Sea. UC Riverside faculty are currently involved in research on ways of removing zinc, manganese and other minerals from the brine waste generated during the geothermal process. This research has led to the creation of other business opportunities related to the geothermal production of energy.

Water Reclamation

UC Riverside faculty have conducted extensive research on the use of reclaimed water on golf course greens and fairways. Faculty from the College of Engineering, in partnership with U.S. Filter, have also conducted analyses of technologies to filter and reuse agricultural runoff.

Turf Grass

More than $275 million annually is spent in the Coachella Valley caring for turf and for more than 20 years, UC Riverside faculty have researched the development of new warm and cool season varieties suitable for the harsh desert climate. Working with golf club superintendents, University researchers have developed strategies for efficient turf maintenance, water use, minimizing the effects of overseeding, and the use of chemicals.

Using genetic engineering and with adequate funding, faculty researchers are able to develop a year-round drought-tolerant turf variety that would stay green throughout the year and eliminate the need for overseeding, resulting in an 18 to 20 percent reduction in annual golf course water use.

Advanced Transportation Systems

University faculty from the Center for Environmental Research and Technology, have undertaken a number of research initiatives in the Coachella Valley to study topics such as an intelligent vehicle transportation system, heavy-duty diesel and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and a means to convert biomass to clean fuel. As a world leader in research on advanced transportation systems, UC Riverside looks forward to continue working in the Coachella Valley to develop these capabilities.

Conservation Biology

The UC Riverside Center for Conservation Biology is cooperating with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments for the study of such endangered species as the Jerusalem cricket, the fringe-toed Lizard, riparian birds’ habitat use, and the distribution of the Crissal thrasher. Such research and collaboration helps create a baseline for monitoring data and refining models to ensure that the Coachella Valley Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan continues to meet high scientific standards.

Native American Language Preservation

In collaboration with tribes, UC Riverside faculty and students are conducting research for new tribal museums, conducting oral histories with elders to preserve tribal histories, designing a certified site monitor program to protect tribal artifacts, contributing to the Takic Language Revitalization Program, and embarking on studies of environmental, educational and energy issues on reservations.

Leaders of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians and UC Riverside scholars recently celebrated the completion of a successful year in an effort to teach tribal members their ancestral language.
UCR Palm Desert Campus Education Center

UCR Palm Desert Campus Education Center

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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