By El Gaucho, September 27, 1957
If you could get a jet-eye view of Santa Barbara College from high in the air, the campus would appear as a giant ship’s prow jutting out into the Pacific. And adding to this illusion are the white breakers which swirl against Goleta Point as though it were knifing its way southward.
The reason for alluding to the air age is the similarity in rapid development between a whole new flight science and a completely new college campus. Seven years ago, the 408-acre site contained no evidence of man other than 60 weathered and vacant Marine Corps buildings. The area was barred to the public. The only living things were eucalyptus trees, and a few scattered native shrubs and trees, ice plant and weeks. At that time it took about the same amount of imagination to envision a beautiful campus on the brown mesa as it did to believe man would fly over 1,100 miles per hour in 1957.
But progress came quickly and now we can see the character of things to come on the coastal campus with a community of 3,000 students, faculty and staff which tripled the size of nearby Goleta.
The transformation of this unique setting — called by many the most beautiful college site in the nation — is in the hands of planners who realize the rarity of the jewel they are fashioning. Pereira & Luckman, one of the nation’s top architectural design firms, has the task of supervising the general plan of the campus and has designed some of its major buildings.
In just half a decade, a new campus emerged with five large new permanent buildings completed, averaging well over a million dollars each, with there more under construction or nearly so and four buildings on the drawing boards, and another 10 on the waiting list.
It is more than stone, steel and wood that unifies a college building in its proper setting. Man has moved in the verdant accompaniment to transform dusty fields into a campus park with a landscape program calculated to follow in step with the occupancy of each new structure.
The immensity of the project can be shown in terms of dollar investment. As of June 30, 1957, $10,540,000 has gone toward the construction, site improvement and equipage of the campus-by-the-sea. This will be tripled before the completion of the present master plan. Edwin W. Pauley, chairman of the Regents of the University, in an address before community leaders here, said, in speaking for that governing body, that “we do not intend to be content with anything other than a truly great college.”
The current master plan was designed to accommodate 3,500 students, but since then a special study by the supervising architects shows that, if necessary, the campus area could provide buildings up to a student body of 10,000. The State Department of Finance estimates 5,600 students at UCSBC in 1970.
Building projects beyond 1960 are subject to change, but among the earliest will be a second unit to the Library, another general Classroom Building, and other specialized structures.
The highlight of the construction program this coming academic year will be the completion of the new Dining Commons in January. The structure with its picture windows overlooking the campus lagoon will be the sixth permanent building. This functional and handsome building will serve meals to the 890 campus resident students, replacing the present Casitas Dining Hall which was converted from a military building.
This new building will accommodate 800 students at one sitting and many more with the customary cafeteria style of service. The main dining room can be divided into units of 200 with folding partitions to accommodate special groups. A large modern kitchen and service area extends eastward. The rectangular-shaped structure eventually will be part of a future student union complex.
Work is progressing nicely on the largest building planned on the campus for several years to come. The Arts Building, with more than 100,000 square feet and with a project budget of $2,500,000 is in the process of having the foundation laid. The land area on the northern point of the lagoon, near the Student Union, has been completely regraded to provide for the two-level structure.
Completion of the building is expected by September, 1958, barring delays because of inclement weather, strikes or material shortages.
In the area of sciences, preliminary plans have been approved for the Biological Sciences Building and final specifications and working drawings are now being prepared. The building will be located just to the south of the present Science Building and will be connected by a pattern of covered sidewalks. The present science unit, in this same project, will be converted to the sole use of the physical sciences. The building allocation is $1,790,000 and it is expected to be completed during the summer of 1959.
Expansion of the residence-hall program calls for two more large halls and a second dining commons which will accommodate 800 more campus citizens. These, however, will only partially relieve the critical housing shortage.
To be located east of the present Santa Rosa Hall will be a men’s residence hall for 400 men, and a second women’s hall for 400 coeds will be constructed to the south of the men’s hall. The second dining commons is to be placed southeast of Santa Rosa with two 200-unit wings attached to a central lounge-recreation-office area. The new buildings will be more compact, with two pairs of L-shaped wings comprising the livings areas.
With the aid of federal-loan funds, the three structures will total $4,600,000 in complete project costs with a substantial part of the loan and all operating costs to be repaid from residence-hall fees. It is hoped to begin construction on all three units in about a year ith the men’s hall due for completion in the fall of 1959 and the new women’s hall for the summer of 1960. The future dining commons will have a dining room seating 400, expandable to 800.
The campus can now accommodate 890 students and the completion of the new facilities will bring the number of spaces up to 1,690 at a time when the predicted enrollment will exceed 3,000, according to the State Department of Finance figures.