Saturday, October 20

A look behind how UCLA acquired the land that once housed the Trisonic Wind Tunnel


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Sonali Kohli / Daily Bruin


UCLA currently owns a 3.5-acre plot of land in El Segundo, worth about $5 million, that once housed the Trisonic Wind Tunnel facility.

Rockwell International Corporation built the facility in the 1950s to test aircraft aerodynamics. The wind tunnel used a chemical called polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, in the hydraulics before the dangers of PCB were known, said Gary Ballesteros, vice president of Rockwell’s legal department.

By September 1998, Rockwell no longer needed the tunnel and donated it to UCLA for research or leasing. The donation came with the pledge that Rockwell would complete environmental cleanup and demolition whenever UCLA was finished using the property, Ballesteros said.

The company Allied Aerospace leased the wind tunnel from 2001-2007, according to a 2009 environmental impact report.

UCLA also used the wind tunnel for research purposes, said Steve Olsen, vice chancellor of finance, budget and capital programs.

The property has been vacant since 2007, according to the report, and Rockwell completed the cleanup and demolition process last year, Ballesteros said.

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