Wednesday, December 19

Construction on the Hill at UCLA scheduled to bring four new residence halls by 2013


Construction crews work six days a week to build four new residence halls that will house an additional 1,500 
students at UCLA. The buildings are scheduled to be completed by winter 2013.

Construction crews work six days a week to build four new residence halls that will house an additional 1,500 students at UCLA. The buildings are scheduled to be completed by winter 2013. Samantha Schaefer


Walking up Bruin Walk past the Intramural Field and LA Tennis Center, students are greeted by gray scaffolding that blocks their path, as tractors cross along the small stretch of road that runs up the residential hill.

Construction is changing life for students on the Hill.

Plans to build four new residence halls that will house an additional 1,500 students are now underway and are due to be completed by winter 2013.

Part of De Neve Drive, Rieber Hall, the stairways by Rieber Hall and De Neve Plaza are currently closed off to students.

Sproul turnaround and what is soon to be Cafe 1919 are also closed.

Besides Cafe 1919, which is set to be opened before Thanksgiving, and Rieber Hall, which is due to be open for conferences in the summer and will house students in fall 2010, these areas will be impacted until winter 2013, said Pete Angelis, assistant vice chancellor of Housing and Hospitality Services.

Construction takes place Monday through Saturday, which is the schedule set by UCLA contracting organizers, said construction mitigator Frank Montana.

It usually begins at 7 a.m. and ends by 3:30 p.m., although building is allowed to go on until 6 p.m., Montana said.

Noise and logistical inconvenience are complaints among some students.

“Noise makes it hard to study. The construction also makes it a whole lot more inconvenient to get anywhere, and due to the closure of the stairs to De Neve there are too many people walking on the street,” said Liza Smirnova, a second-year neuroscience student.

Smirnova said she is also concerned that cars will not be able to see students who are walking up De Neve Drive as they come around the corner.

Angelis said he understands students have concerns about construction noise, but said periods of inconvenience are necessary for future improvement.

“Our campus has operated with construction since ground was first broken on the main campus,” he said. “Past Bruins have endured some inconveniences for the benefit of current students. Similarly, future Bruins will benefit from this round of construction.”

Heavy construction noise will be halted during finals week in order to allow students to focus on studying.

Currently, three years of housing are guaranteed to incoming freshmen and one year to transfer students, but with the construction of these new residence halls, housing officials aim to offer four years of guaranteed housing to freshmen and two years of guaranteed housing to transfers.

The new residence halls to be built will be called Holly Ridge, Gardenia Way, Sproul Cove, Sproul Landing and Sproul Presidio.

Holly Ridge and Gardenia Way will be built on De Neve Plaza, and Sproul Cove, Sproul Landing and Presidio will be built in the Sproul turnaround area.

The Sproul Commons area will feature a fitness center, 750-seat dining commons and 425-seat multipurpose meeting room for academic programs and conferences, Angelis said.

The housing project is estimated to cost around $375 million, which is being raised from bonds that Housing and Hospitality has built up over a number of years, Angelis said.

Some students expressed concerns about this money being spent on housing construction.

“Construction should be the last thing being done in this time of budget cuts,” said Zack Deneen, a second-year art student.

However, housing officials said giving students the guarantee of on-campus housing for four years will make UCLA more of a residential campus by reducing the number of commuters and therefore will be an investment for future generations.

“One of the best ways for UCLA housing to support the university’s academic mission is to help evolve UCLA from a commuter campus to a residential campus,” Angelis said in a statement.

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