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California’s Subcommittee on Education Deletes Nearly $20 million in UCR Construction Projects

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The Senate Subcommittee on Education deleted nearly $20 million in funding for three building projects at UC Riverside, threatening campus development at a critical time.

The cuts are not final until the state budget is signed, typically after July 1, but the potential loss of the new Environmental Health and Safety building, seismic improvements at Batchelor Hall and a new Engineering building to house bioengineering programs would be a significant blow to expected progress.

"These buildings are necessary for the teaching and research missions of the campus," said Al Diaz, vice chancellor for administration. "If they are deferred it will undoubtedly lead to higher costs."

The current Environmental Health and Safety facility has been in use since 1989, when UCR's enrollment was less than 8,200 students. This is a campuswide resource that handles the storage and safe removal of toxic chemicals. A delay in completion will constrain UCR's research enterprise. The campus had requested $16.6 million in funding. Plans have been completed for a building that would provide 19,500 assignable square feet of office and laboratory space.

Batchelor Hall, built in 1965, is in need of upgrades to keep up with modern research needs. The funding request was $716,000 for working drawings.

Engineering III, slated to house UCR's growing bioengineering program, had a funding request of $2.2 million for preliminary building plans. Faculty recruiting on campus is often connected to the quality and features of buildings and equipment, and it will be more difficult to recruit faculty and students if this building is delayed.

 Two other UCR requests, for more than $5 million in equipment for two nearly completed buildings, Student Academic Support and Materials Science, have so far been allowed to continue forward.

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