Regents Approve the Next Step of New Building on Campus

UCR receiving $6.9 million for planning stages of 'MRB1' to provide space for more faculty researchers

Photo by Carlos Puma

Photo by Carlos Puma

The UC Board of Regents approved $6.9 million for the planning stages of a new building on campus that will support multidisciplinary research, and will help provide space for an expanded group of faculty researchers.

Called “Multidisciplinary Research Building 1” or “MRB1” for short, the new building will contain about 90,000 square feet of useable space to provide labs and other facilities for the teams surrounding 40 to 50 new faculty members. It will sit just north of the Material Science Building.

“The only way to best serve our students and California is to grow our faculty,” UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox told a subcommittee of the Regents at a meeting in Irvine on Sept. 16. “We have significant research excellence, but not at a scale that allows us to fully realize our potential.”

Wilcox and a team of administrators presented future plans that include renovating some existing facilities, adding a third engineering building, and a second multidisciplinary research building.

The goal is to bring UCR’s student/faculty ratios down to 23 to 1, which is about the average for the UC system.

Barbara Lloyd, a project manager for the campus’ expansion study, said some of UCR’s older buildings will be renovated, including Batchelor, Pierce, Boyce, and Fawcett Lab. The campus owns land to the north of campus that is available for expansion, if necessary.

At one point the campus plan included a lot of building across Highway 60, to the west of the campus, in agricultural lands. But that is no longer the case, Lloyd said. “The new thinking is to protect a compact footprint in the academic center of campus, because that will provide more faculty-student interaction across disciplines,” she said.

In the Spring, UCR hosted “Visioning Workshops” that asked the campus community and nearby neighbors to imagine what UCR will look like in 2025. The updated study document is due back in mid-December. It will cover some of the non academic needs of the campus as well, including new family housing, an events center, and expanded space for a student health facility.

Lloyd said all future building is contingent on available funding. In many cases, that consists of public bond money paid back by the campus over time.

“We can also lease space off site if faculty growth outpaces campus lab space,” she said.

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