On Monday, July 29, the vice chancellor of planning and budget, and business and administration services, Gerry Bomotti, released a statement that the Student Success Center (SSC) has moved on from the procurement phase to the design development phase. The SSC would add about 1,000 classroom seats in a mix of lecture halls and smaller classrooms. This building is joining the North District Development Project, the art sculpture and several other projects as another major construction effort that is occurring on campus.
Assistant Vice Chancellor and Campus Architect Jacqueline Norman said that the SSC will help “alleviate a critical shortfall in classroom capacity at UCR.” In addition to the instructional spaces that address this deficiency, the SSC will also include multipurpose rooms, group meeting rooms, group study rooms, open study spaces and a dining venue. “I think our students will love the new facility and the 1,100 lecture hall seats it brings to the campus,” stated Bomotti.
Although a couple of sites were considered, Norman stated that a working group comprised of students, faculty and staff decided that the central location between the Arts building and Student Services Building would “provide better programmatic and site opportunities.” The trees on location were the only major concern for the working group; however, “the university will be planting many new trees to offset their removal,” said Norman.
In a 2017 report, UCR Capital Asset Strategies stated that the SSC has a total cost of $58 million. Norman stated that while a huge number of people from various different departments on campus and students have been committed to making the project a success, “it’s important to acknowledge the Regents who prioritized this project for UCR, and the state, which has funded most of it.” The UCR Capital Asset Strategies report stated that $8 million was pledged by Student Affairs.
UCR’s Office of Planning, Design & Construction webpage notes that construction on the project will begin in the fall of 2019 and is expected to end in the fall of 2021. Norman commented in an interview with The Highlander that although the project site will be fenced off for safety reasons, at times it will “undoubtedly feel intrusive” to staff, faculty and students. “Campus staff, along with the General Contractor, will be working assiduously to mitigate these impacts,” she said.
Regardless, Norman reiterated: “I firmly believe that the SSC will be a wonderful addition to the campus.” Similarly, Bomotti wrote, “the SSC project, from my perspective, has been a great success for the campus and we are excited to see the groundbreaking later this fall.”