California Air Resources Board Breaks Ground on Facility at UCR

Facility represents a $419 million investment

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony for the California Air Resources Board’s test and research facility.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) broke ground Friday on a key $419 million research and testing facility that will also be the board’s Southern California headquarters.

The board voted last year to relocate its motor vehicle and engine emissions testing and research facility from El Monte to a 19-acre site at UCR on Iowa Avenue near Martin Luther King Boulevard. The facility will bring more than 400 high-paying jobs.

The groundbreaking ceremony drew hundreds of officials and stakeholders from across the region and state. UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox told the attendees that this was a “precious moment in the life of our university.”

“These kinds of things don’t happen very often and you have to treasure them,” Wilcox said, referring to the significance of a major state agency relocating a research facility to Riverside.

“We’re building the air quality research center for the world,” Wilcox added.

Wilcox was joined by California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols and several elected officials, including Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-CA, U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert, R-CA, state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, among others.

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and other dignitaries break ground Friday.

The Air Resources Board played an instrumental role in uncovering the emissions defeat device installed by German car manufacturer Volkswagen on some of its vehicles, resulting in a worldwide scandal.

Nichols called it a “momentous day” for CARB, noting the agency was celebrating its 50th anniversary. She lauded the regional partners that made this move possible, including UCR, the city of Riverside, Riverside County and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. She added that the site’s proximity to a prominent research institution such as UC Riverside was an important factor in the agency’s decision-making process.

“We know we’re in the right place,” Nichols said.

The 380,000-square-foot square facility has been billed as state-of-the-art and will be certified LEED Platinum, considered the highest level of energy efficiency for building standards. The building will also be the nation’s single largest net-zero energy structure, according to CARB, which means it will produce as much energy as it uses. Solar panels on the rooftop and over the parking lot will supply at least 3.5 megawatts of electricity. Construction at the site is slated to begin in February.

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