Friday, March 22

Research facility to replace part of Hershey Hall

Funding for construction of replacement building partly dependent on passage of Proposition 1D

Part of Mira Hershey Hall, UCLA’s first on-campus
residence hall, is currently undergoing demolition to make way for
the construction of the Life Sciences Replacement Building.

The five-story research facility will offer wet labs, lab
support and vivarium facilities for the departments of
physiological science, ecology and evolutionary biology, and
molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

“The existing Life Sciences building was completed in
1954, and it was designed by people who didn’t even know the
structure of DNA,” said Fred Eiserling, associate dean of
life sciences. “This replacement building will allow our
faculty … to do cutting-edge modern biomedical or biological

Construction costs for the Life Sciences Replacement Building
are estimated at $138.3 million, and the construction should be
completed in late 2009, according to the UCLA Capital Programs Web

The state plans to contribute $92.8 million to the cost of the
project, a significant portion of which would come from Proposition
1D, a public education bond measure on the November ballot. The
university will fund $45.5 million through external borrowing.

“Our ability to proceed with this project is contingent on
voter approval of Proposition 1D,” said Steve Olsen, vice
chancellor of finance and budget.

The Life Sciences Replacement Building will not only be a
“green building” according to the University of
California’s standards, but it is also unique in that it will
be one of the first buildings in the UC system whose facilities are
intended to foster undergraduate research alongside the

The old Life Sciences building, at more than 50 years of age,
has never undergone a major renovation.

“The building basically had just become obsolete,”
Olsen said.

Though the Life Sciences building will need to be modernized at
some point in the future, it will remain in use as a teaching
facility and as administrative offices.

The original 1931 structure of Hershey Hall, along Hilgard
Avenue, will not be demolished because UCLA considers it historic.
It will be adjacent to the Life Sciences Replacement Building,
joined by a courtyard.

The plans for the site of Hershey Hall were not always to
construct a new research building.

In 1997 it was speculated that the site of Hershey’s
seismically unsound men’s wing, a 1959 addition whose
foundation was seriously damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake,
would be replaced by a 900-space parking structure. This structure
was to be part of UCLA’s effort to compensate for the
expected loss of parking spaces associated with construction of the
new hospital, according to Daily Bruin archives.

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