At a meeting for the Citizens University Committee on Wednesday, May 24, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox discussed the current plans for the expansion of the UCR campus. According to the Press-Enterprise, Wilcox was asked about the possibility of creating a sports arena or entertainment center for UCR in the future. Despite continued plans to demolish Canyon Crest Family Student Housing, plans for an entertainment center, which were slated for that area, have been put on hold said Wilcox. Wilcox cites the lack of finances and investments available for the project, with money still greatly needed in other high priority areas of improvement, such as the need for research facilities and campus housing.
Wilcox, who has spearheaded the campus expansion plans and advocated for an entertainment center, realistically discussed the plans for campus expansion in the wake of public criticism. The planned demolition of family housing was largely criticized for its perceived displacement of families to Oban apartments and Wilcox’s leadership methods were challenged following the resignation of Vice Provost Paul D’Anieri, effective July 1. Since, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Auxiliary Services Andy Plumley has led the effort to respond to many of these criticisms, through lowering rent costs and providing general safety such as fencing to surround the apartment complex, among other additions.
In an email sent Friday, May 26 to the campus community, following the end of a series of “campus conversations,” Wilcox highlighted the different areas of improvement that have been prioritized following the end of multiple meetings. Most repeated in the reports was the importance of increasing affordable housing options and addressing food insecurity on campus. Also mentioned was the need for “funding to renovate and/or replace buildings and facilities that have suffered due to deferred maintenance.”
UCR spokesperson John Warren told the Press-Enterprise that, while plans for an entertainment center are not currently in the works, it is not entirely off the table, saying, “It does not supersede more research capacity and increasing campus housing.”