Statements concerning court recommendation regarding mediation and ruling regarding Biomedical Sciences Facility

UC Santa Cruz issued the following statements today (9/21/07) concerning Santa Cruz County Superior Court recommendation regarding LRDP mediation and ruling regarding the Biomedical Sciences Facility:

Statement from George Blumenthal, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor, about LRDP court decision and mediation:

"We will actively and creatively participate in mediation. My personal support for a negotiated settlement to this costly litigation is why I and other campus representatives have attempted on multiple occasions to reach fair-share agreements with the City and County concerning traffic, housing, and water. Those discussions didn't produce agreements, but I am very hopeful that a mediated negotiation might accomplish what those discussions did not.

"We are grateful that the Court recognized the university's right to grow in order to serve the students of California. Still, we respectfully disagree with the Court's ruling under the California Environmental Quality Act. The campus, therefore, reserves the right to appeal after the Court files its judgment.

"It is my sincere hope, however, that a mediated agreement will render unnecessary such an appeal and the continuation of this litigation."

Background on selection of mediator:

. University representatives have reviewed the names of the four mediators the Judge suggested several weeks ago. We and the Stevens petitioners have mutually agreed on a potential mediator who was recommended by Judge Burdick, and we anxiously await the City's response to that proposal.

Statement from George Blumenthal, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor, about delay of Biomedical Sciences Facility:

"Delaying the construction of this building is a lose-lose proposition: It's a setback for the campus, in the fields that would be served by this building; and it's a setback for the local community, as these labs would serve as an incubator for the spin-off companies that will spur the local economy."

Background on Biomedical Sciences Facility:

. Approximately 92,300 sf of wet laboratory space and core specialized facilities to support interdisciplinary research for the Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Environmental Toxicology, Biomolecular Engineering concentrating in health and medical issues. The project site is an existing paved parking lot, located in the Science Hill area of the central campus.

. UCSC had been aiming for a November construction start.

. The building cost had originally been estimated at $80 million.