$6.89 million was approved at a September 15 meeting between the UC Regents and Chancellor Wilcox and his team to fund the preliminary phase of construction for a new research building known as the Multidisciplinary Research Building 1, or MRB1. The initial phase or phase 1 activities of the project will include procuring a competent design team and conducting surveys and analysis to maximize design efficiency with respect to the environment, among other things. The total cost for the MRB1 project is an estimated $150 million dollars.

“UCR is at pivotal point in our history. We’ve increased our enrollment, we’re expanding our faculty, our reputation is improving, we’re in the midst of a multipronged approach to creating multidisciplinary research space from existing and new facilities across the campus and this new building will play critical role in that expansion.” Wilcox argued during his presentation to the regents referring to the implementation of the broader expansion plan UCR 2020: Path to Preeminence.

The building will be constructed on the north side of campus between the Materials Science and Engineering building and the newly expanded student recreation center. The general model for the building assumes that it will inhabit approximately 150,000 gross square feet, be constructed as a five-story structure and consist of wet and dry research labs, vivarium and common areas for students and faculty. The MRB1 project team worked closely with UC San Diego faculty to adapt a model for MRB1 from UCSD’s Biomedical Research Building 2.

The approved funding will be allocated to master architect fees at $1.784 million, design building fees at $2 million, campus administration at $429,000, $92,000 for surveys, tests, plans and specifications and special items at $2.858 million, which include environmental review and documentation, specialty consultants and design-build stipends.

“What kind of a savings do you anticipate will be realized because of using something that is very lovely and functional … versus starting all over?” asked UC Regent Charlene Zettel alluding to the adaptation of building plans from UC San Diego’s.

Campus architect Rob Gayle who also attended the meeting did not have a specific monetary value in mind but replied, “The chief savings will be in the efficiency of planning, that is the time saved and the ability to come to solutions quickly working with a core faculty group.”

The duration of Phase 1 is expected to last approximately 11 months and another presentation to the regents with construction costs and detailed design is due by May 2016. Physical construction or Phase 2 is slated for Summer 2016 and will finish fall 2018.

A second multidisciplinary research building (MRB2) and an additional engineering building are also expected to materialize once the regents have been presented with and approve a more defined budget proposal.