Coastal Biology Building Project

Construction began in 2015 on a new building near Long Marine Laboratory at UCSC's Coastal Science Campus. The Coastal Biology building will support research and teaching on coastal conservation, ecology, habitat restoration, climate change impacts, and policy. Construction work began in May 2015 and is expected to be completed by spring 2017.

Faculty and researchers in UCSC's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology will come together in the Coastal Biology building after many years in which some were based on the main UCSC campus and others at Long Marine Laboratory. The new building will relieve space constraints and allow for the expansion of programs in coastal sustainability and policy. The move will also strengthen partnerships and research collaborations with government agencies and conservation organizations based at and near the Coastal Science Campus (see Partnerships).

California Coastal Commission approval

The Coastal Biology building is the first major construction project to be carried out under UCSC's Coastal Long Range Development Plan (CLRDP), which was approved by the California Coastal Commission in 2009 after an eight-year planning process. The CLRDP is a comprehensive land-use plan that guides possible future development at the Coastal Science Campus. It provides clustered development zones for new facilities while setting aside 72 acres of the 100-acre site as part of the Younger Lagoon Reserve for preservation of sensitive habitat and environmental research, teaching, and restoration. In October 2013, the Coastal Commission reviewed the Coastal Biology building project and approved it as consistent with the CLRDP.

Infrastructure upgrades

In addition to the Coastal Biology building, the construction project will also include a number of major infrastructure upgrades called for in the CLRDP, including a new entrance, relocation of the entrance road (McAllister Way), paths for walking and biking, overlooks with interpretive panels, improvements to underground utilities, and a small public access parking lot.

Younger Lagoon Reserve expansion and habitat restoration

Younger Lagoon Reserve, part of the UC Natural Reserve System, was established in 1986 as a 25-acre reserve of lagoon, beach, marsh, and coastal scrub habitat adjacent to Long Marine Laboratory. In 2008, the reserve was expanded to include 47 additional acres of land on the upland terrace site of the Coastal Science Campus. Formerly an agricultural field, the site now includes seasonal wetlands and other environmentally sensitive habitat. A habitat restoration program that incorporates research and teaching activities has been implemented by UCSC Natural Reserve staff, with guidance from a scientific advisory committee.

Wells Fargo Coastal Science Research Center

In 1999, UCSC purchased approximately 55 acres adjacent to Long Marine Laboratory from Wells Fargo Bank, including the developable area where the new Coastal Biology building will be constructed. This area, which may include additional buildings in the future, has been named the Wells Fargo Coastal Science Research Center.

Coastal Biology Building - Rendering 2About the Coastal Biology building

The Coastal Biology building was designed by the San Francisco architecture firm EHDD. In addition to laboratories and offices for faculty and researchers, the building will feature a 125-seat seminar room; running seawater plumbed to a core seawater laboratory for research and teaching; analytical labs and rooms for specialized equipment; and meeting spaces and conference rooms. The main building is 40,000 gross square feet on two floors. An ancillary complex of greenhouses for research and habitat restoration work will be located across McAllister Way from the main building. The Coastal Biology building will be just north of the NOAA Fisheries lab, with a new parking lot adjoining the existing NOAA parking lot.

Project costs and funding

The overall project cost estimate for the building along with all of the infrastructure improvements is approximately $73 million. The project cost for just the building is approximately $54 million. It is a state-funded project of the University of California's capital project program.

Construction Management

Swinerton Builders of Santa Clara was chosen, through a qualifications and cost proposal process, as the construction manager for the project. Swinerton will solicit competitive bids from sub-contractors in a public process. The UCSC Physical Planning and Construction department is overseeing the project. For more information about the construction project, visit the Coastal Science Campus web site and click on the "Construction" tab.

Coastal Sustainability Initiative

The Coastal Biology building is part of the Coastal Sustainability initiative of the Campaign for UC Santa Cruz. The initiative addresses environmental issues surrounding the health of coastal ecosystems in California and around the world. Private investment in the initiative supports coastal science teaching and research and leverages state investment in this new facility.