Courtesy of UC Merced
Courtesy of UC Merced

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) has proposed a bill to create an 11th UC campus geared toward science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), despite general concerns about the university system’s current financial state. Gatto envisions “UC Tech” to be the UC equivalent of the private California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

AB 1483 would require $50 million for land acquisition and start-up costs for infrastructure. Passage of the bill would also help kickstart a study to determine whether the plan is feasible and possible locations for the campus.

UC Merced was the most recent campus to open back in 2005, but the process took close to 20 years after the UC Board of Regents voted to establish the campus. It has also faced challenges of campus expansion due to the lack of funding.

The bill comes at a time when UC President Janet Napolitano and Gov. Jerry Brown are still negotiating over how much state funding should be appropriated to the UC.

The growing state surplus can be used to support the new UC with the goals of filling the overall demand for STEAM jobs, according to Gatto. Possible locations pitched for the new campus have included somewhere in Los Angeles or near Silicon Valley.