Campus moving forward with Kresge renewal

Kresge entrance

The campus community can learn more at the next Kresge College forum from 6–8 p.m. on Monday, Sept 18 in the Kresge Town Hall.

In the coming years, UC Santa Cruz will embark on an extensive two-phase renewal and revitalization of Kresge College.

One of the most dynamic and iconic institutions at UC Santa Cruz, Kresge College has long been recognized for its support of experiential and interdisciplinary education and for its architectural heritage. Kresge College was built in 1973 as the sixth college at UC Santa Cruz, encompassing approximately eight acres of varied topography and redwood forest. Designed by architect Charles Moore of Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull and Whitaker (MLTW) with landscape architect Dan Kiley, the college is designed as a cluster of residential and social buildings clustered around a pedestrian street.

Today, having long outlasted their expected lifespan in a marine climate, many of the materials and details of the stucco campus buildings and hardscape are in need of repair. With Kresge, the campus can no longer meet the residential and academic needs of its students.

In order to honor Kresge’s cultural and architectural legacy, and improve its ability to serve broader campus and evolving student needs in the coming generations, the project will balance limited redevelopment with the renovation of the majority of existing buildings, extending Moore’s legacy for future generations of students.

Focused around improving many of the experimental concepts developed by Moore, the project supports creating new spaces for student life and support, including student co-op space; creates more accessible circulation through the college; improves environmental performance; increases residential capacity to keep up with demand; introduces new academic space to strengthen its living-learning mission, and provides direct connections to campus core via the North Bridge.

Now in the planning phase, in which program and site organization are being developed, careful consideration has been paid to which buildings are renovated and which buildings will be replaced in order to honor the legacy of Moore’s plan while improving the evolving vision. The majority of existing buildings will remain.

A renewed vision for Kresge

The college is currently working with Studio Gang Architects in collaboration with TEF Design for the planning phase of the project. Driven by a desire to provide students with the space to enable academic success and improve the student experience, the college has worked closely with Studio Gang to develop planning concepts in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff over the past 18 months. The plan includes creating an academic zone at the north, residential space to the west, and student support and college programs to the south, as well as landscape improvements to create accessible, social gathering places. Key proposed and existing program elements include a new state-of-the-art lecture hall, classrooms, and academic department and Kresge administration space. The new lecture hall will be a campus facility that can be used for many large courses and campus-wide events. It will be the campus’s largest lecture hall and first new one since 2006. Student support programs and expanded student housing with associated amenities to support college residential life are also included.

“The hope in developing a new vision for the physical space of Kresge College,” Kresge Provost Ben Leeds Carson said, “is to retain, and even to strengthen, Kresge’s founding values of innovation in experiential learning and community engagement, while transforming and improving its living and learning spaces to the benefit of student services, the college’s residential and academic life.”

The housing communities of the five older colleges have all been recently renovated, or are currently being renovated. As with other college renovations, UC Santa Cruz seeks to increase the number of beds at Kresge—from 363 located within the college site to a maximum of 550—while also improving the overall student experience through a focus on adding more outdoor community gathering spaces. The expanded student housing will make Kresge College roughly the same size as the other nine colleges.

The total project budget is still being finalized, though the campus anticipates investing at least $243 million, including $50 million earmarked from state funds for the renewal and expansion of academic spaces. Campus leaders will present strategies toward the design and implementation of these and other features at tomorrow’s UC Board of Regents meeting.

The Kresge Committee is co-chaired by Sarah Latham, vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services, and Martin Berger, interim associate vice provost for Academic Affairs. Colleges, Housing, and Educational Services reports to Latham. As part of Academic Affairs, Berger helps manage academic space.The committee includes Leeds Carson, Kresge College Administrative Officer Mike Yamauchi-Gleason, two student representatives from Kresge Parliament, Academic Senate representation, and additional campus staff. A GSA representative has been requested.

Town Hall meetings, open to students, staff, faculty, alums and the local community have been held monthly to provide updates on the project’s progress and to seek feedback on preliminary concepts. Consistent with the robust student involvement with the original design, the campus will continue to seek input from the community. CAO Yamauchi-Gleason encourages all members of the community to participate in the wide range of activities to provide input into the final design of the project. The campus community can learn more at the next forum from 6–8 p.m. on Monday, Sept 18 in the Kresge Town Hall.

The Kresge project is distinct from Student Housing West, which will be delivered via a public-private partnership that will bring about 3,000 new beds to UC Santa Cruz.

Project implementation

The project will be constructed in two phases so that all programs, classrooms, offices, residential beds can remain open through construction. The design phase is planned to start in late fall 2017.

Preliminary concepts for phase one would include two new residential buildings, a new academic building, café, and improvements to the north pedestrian bridge for accessibility. Phase one is planned to begin in fall 2019, and anticipated to be completed in fall 2021.

Before phase one starts, the campus will consider removing R-7, the triplet apartments, the fitness center, and the town hall and Owl’s Nest, which will be replaced by new residential buildings, social amenities, and a cafe. A new town hall would be provided in phase two. Space would be provided for the programs and people impacted.

Preliminary concepts for phase two will focus on rehabilitating most of the remaining Kresge buildings, and includes construction of a new town hall. Before phase two starts, the campus is considering the removal of R8, which could become an outdoor commons including stormwater management; R3, which could be replaced by a set of stairs and ramps allowing for improved accessibility and adding gathering space through the site; and R10, which could become a new Town Hall. Phase two is planned to begin in fall 2021, and anticipated to be completed in fall 2023.