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New tech, medical buildings on the way at UCSD

The face of the University of California, San Diego campus continues to change as several new projects near completion on the school's medical and engineering grounds.

A watercolor rendering of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Cal-(IT)?) building.

The Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)?], and Computer Science and Engineering buildings are scheduled to finish in the next six months.

This past year has seen the grand opening of the Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC) campus -- the largest construction project ever undertaken by the university to date -- as well as the opening of the Leichtag Family Foundation Biomedical Research Building on the School of Medicine campus.

The ERC project, which includes 373,033 assignable square feet in residence halls, an International House, dining facilities, common areas, administrative service complexes and apartments, was designed by the architectural firm Moshe Safdie & Associates and opened last fall to much anticipation.

The Leichtag Family Foundation Biomedical Research Building, formerly known as the School of Medicine Research Facility, opened in April. The four-story, 140,000-square-foot building designed by the architectural firm Zimmer, Gunsul, Frasca Partnership of Portland, Ore., contains state-of-the-art laboratories and conference space, according to a press release by UCSD Health Sciences.

The Leichtag building is one of several health-science construction projects that are in progress on campus. For example, the Moores UCSD Cancer Center is scheduled to be complete in December of this year, with a tentative move-in and occupation date scheduled for April or May 2005.

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center, currently one of UCSD's largest construction projects in terms of expense and square footage, at $104.8 million and 270,000 square feet respectively, is located by Thornton Hospital in the UCSD Medical Centers complex. Funding for the center has been provided both privately and by debt financing.

The new building marks the first time all operations under Cancer Center jurisdiction will be in the same place.

"It will house cancer researchers, clinicians, doctors, outpatient services, staff and administration," Director of Cancer Center Communications Nancy Stringer said. "Currently, the center operates out of 20 sites, which is why we felt so strongly to have the need for this facility. It wasn't terribly efficient for us or for the patients. We can now have it all under one roof." UCSD also recently held the groundbreaking ceremonies for the renovation and expansion of the Biomedical Library in the School of Medicine. Construction will begin in the fall and is scheduled to finish by mid-2006.

The Computer Science and Engineering building, seen here from Warren Mall, is nearing completion.

According to UCSD, the $17.7 million expansion of the only research biomedical library in the county will nearly double its size, adding 23,334 square feet. The library was originally built in 1969 and designed for about 800 patrons.

"It was badly in need of renovation," said Susan Starr, director of the Biomedical Library. "We're expecting about 7,000 users, and the library will need to accommodate the growth of the campus." The library will incorporate features such as group study rooms, glass window lighting, compact shelving and a bioinformatics lab, Starr said.

The existing building has a distinctive sloping concrete roof that will be incorporated into the new design by the architectural firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. The general contractor for the project is McCarthy Building Cos.

Over on the east side of campus, two technology facilities are nearing completion at the Irwin and Joan Jacobs School of Engineering. The $102.5 million, 250,000-square-foot Cal-(IT)? building is part of the California Institutes for Science and Innovation initiative, which provides the UCSD building as well as its sister UC Irvine Cal-(IT)? building with capital funding provided by the California legislature and supplemented by private monies. The facility, expected to be complete by early 2005, is designed by NBBJ of San Francisco and contracted by Gilbane Building Co.

Cal-(IT)? is a hybrid between a research lab, museum and office. The unique facility is designed to incorporate academia, the arts, public and private sector economies, and the public to encourage education and participation in technology.

"The guiding mandate for the new building is to create a place that so far does not exist on most campuses: a place where electrical engineers, neuroscientists and artists can work side-by-side as part of multidisciplinary teams to address some of the fundamental problems that we face," said Doug Ramsey, media relations officer for Cal-(IT)?. Cal-(IT)? will have 262 offices, a 10,000-square-foot clean room for nanotechnology research, and a rooftop "antenna garden" consisting of 15 antennae with which scientists can experiment. The building will feature large flat-panel screens throughout that will display video programming and events information, Ramsey said.

Visitors can observe scientists at work, and can also learn more about the fusion of art and technology through exhibit galleries and media arts facilities. There is a 200-seat theater with a working High Definition Television (HDTV) projector -- the first of its kind in operation in the United States, a multipurpose recording center theater, and an immersive visualization room/theater, with a 10-by-10-by-10-foot cube that is equipped with sensors that will project images to each wall, depending on where you move, according to the building's facilities manager Tim Beach.

The visitor-friendly building will also be headquarters for intense research and innovation, with the high-technology facilities functioning as both educational entertainment and work labs.

"It will be home to visiting researchers who will be sharing ideas and developing them with UCSD engineers and researchers. It's like a hotel for research," Beach said.

A new adjacent building, the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) facility nicknamed EBU3 (for Engineering Building 3), will be in the same vicinity on the east side of campus. Designed by the Bohlin, Cywinski & Jackson firm, the new EBU3 building costs $41 million and will encompass 145,000 square feet. EBU3 will be the new home of the CSE department, which will relocate from its current location across campus.

After completion of the two buildings, construction will shift to revamping the area surrounding Cal-(IT)? and EBU3, according to John Sturla, university project manager for facilities, design, and construction.

"We'll be working on the academic court, in landscaping and installing pathways where the staging areas for the construction trailers currently are," Sturla said.

UCSD recently held the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Biomedical Library renovation in the School of Medicine. Construction will begin in the fall and is scheduled to finish by mid-2006.

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