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The College builds for the 21st century

UCLA Today

Alumnus Richard Bergman is leading the College's campaign to renovate and expand its physical facilities. When Richard Bergman came to UCLA to major in economics in the mid-'70s, he went to class and studied along with 20,000 other undergraduates in a collection of buildings that housed the sprawling College of Letters & Science.

Nearly 30 years later, approximately 25,000 undergraduates entering this fall are being warmly welcomed to the very same facilities, most of them built before 1970, before interactive and digital technologies revolutionized teaching and research. Before multidisciplinary programs demanded more space for collaborative team research. Before UCLA was facing the prospect of a sharp spike in enrollment.

So Bergman, now a successful businessman and dedicated volunteer at his alma mater, has come back to campus, this time to head the College's Building Great Futures Campaign, raising funds to support a 10-year capital plan to renew the aging physical plant and expand research facilities.

"While construction has revitalized many of UCLA's professional schools, not since the mid-'60s has the university focused on building for the College," Bergman said. "The need to rebuild and upgrade is critical."

It is also a critical issue for faculty recruitment and retention, in which the quality of facilities can be a pivotal factor.

"The faculty of the College are responsible for directing many of the university's most celebrated research programs," said Provost Brian Copenhaver. "Our capital plan will provide the creative environment in which both students and faculty can thrive."

The ambitious building plan has two phases, the first of which began in 1999 and will run through 2005. All divisions of the College will reap benefits as older buildings are renovated and new buildings are constructed, the provost noted.

Implementing the plan will require a partnership between state resources and private philanthropy, Bergman emphasized. "Public funding for seismic repairs has done a great deal for UCLA since 1994, and continues to play a key role. But public funds only bring us back to pre-earthquake conditions. Ultimately, alumni, corporate partners, foundations, neighbors and friends will provide the funds necessary to build facilities on a par with the advanced research and scholarship that are the hallmarks of UCLA."

In the Social Sciences Division, for example, historic Haines Hall, one of UCLA's four original buildings and home to the anthropology and sociology departments, has just undergone a state-funded seismic renovation. But to provide technology-ready classrooms, a multimedia communications center, adequate faculty office space and meeting and conferencing areas, the College has to count on philanthropic help.

These are the major facilities in Phase I of the College's building plan that will help to shape its future:


In the Physical Sciences Division, a key priority of the College is becoming reality: A new six-level Physics and Astronomy Building is under construction at the west end of Knudsen Hall. When the building is finished, it will physically bring together the two departments that merged on paper seven years ago in an effort to nurture joint teaching and research. Finally, physicists and astronomers will be able to work side by side instead of in offices and labs spread out across the campus. Until then, the Department of Physics and Astronomy -one of the largest in the nation - remains scattered among three buildings: Knudsen Hall, vintage 1963; Kinsey Hall, constructed in 1929 and never seismically upgraded; and Math Sciences, 1957. Outmoded undergraduate science labs in Kinsey Hall are scheduled to be replaced with new labs in Knudsen Hall next year.

The new Physics and Astronomy facility will house specialty research labs, faculty offices, five modern classrooms - the first new classrooms built for the College since the 1960s - and a state-of-the-art lecture hall with a revolving stage. "One of the advantages of this arrangement is for back-to-back classes," explained former Department Chair Ferdinand Coroniti. "You can set up your demonstration for one class, then wheel the stage around and be ready to teach a whole different class."


Faculty in the Life Sciences Division are eagerly awaiting the renovation of the Life Sciences Building, scheduled under Phase II of the College's capital program.

In the meantime, the immediate need for classroom and lecture space will be met because of the generosity of a dedicated Bruin family. The La Kretz Family Foundation has made an extraordinary gift that will enable the College to build a new Life Sciences Teaching and Conference Center. The building will be named in their honor.

With a glass-enclosed lobby that opens onto the Court of Sciences, and in close proximity to related research activities, La Kretz Hall will feature a 355-seat auditorium and breakout rooms to accommodate both instructional and conference needs. The three-story structure will also provide much-needed administrative and conference space for the Institute of the Environment.


"New and evolving disciplines come together in ways that are hard to predict," said Life Sciences Dean Fred Eiserling. "The whole realm of the sciences is wonderfully alive, bubbling with new ideas."

From this creative collaboration has come a series of pioneering partnerships between the Life Sciences Division and the School of Medicine. A research center will bring complementary biomedical disciplines even closer together.

The new Center for Genome Biology and Molecular Medicine - an integral part of the new Health Sciences Research Complex - will occupy three floors spanning two interconnected buildings to be constructed at the southeast corner of the Court of Sciences. Here, at the heart of the campus's biomedical community, scientists and researchers from three departments in the School of Medicine and two in Life Sciences will work together, speeding the translation of discovery into practice and the classroom.

"As the Human Genome Project comes to completion, a new era in human biology will begin; we will decipher the function of human genes," said Leonard H. Rome, senior associate dean for research. "New research buildings, with state-of-the-art core facilities like the Center for Genome Biology and Molecular Medicine, will enable UCLA scientists to carry out research on the frontier of biology and medicine. Important discoveries are bound to emerge."


A key element of the College's capital plan is to renovate Kinsey Hall and rededicate it to the Division of the Humanities, creating a new home for the English department and several other humanities units.

The red brick exterior and tile roof of the 70-year-old building will be restored, seismic corrections will be made and old science labs will give way to modern classrooms, study areas and faculty offices.

Along with the transformation comes the opportunity for a new name.

UCLA's original physics/biology building, Kinsey Hall was named for Professor Edgar Lee Kinsey, former chair of the physics department. At the request of the physics faculty, Kinsey's name will move to the Science Teaching Pavilion just south of Knudsen Hall, leaving one of UCLA's landmark buildings ready for a new name by a generous donor.

"The dedication of one of UCLA's original buildings to the Division of Humanities speaks both to UCLA's traditions and to its future," said Humanities Dean Pauline Yu. "When faculty and students come together in a building admired for its history and redesigned for the new century, teaching and learning will be the prime beneficiaries."

When teaching and learning benefit, the quality of the entire university is elevated, along with its ability to serve the community. "Can bricks and mortar make the difference in a university's ability to recruit and retain faculty, win academic distinction, inspire students and advance knowledge?" asked Bergman. "For the College of Letters & Science at UCLA, the answer is an unequivocal yes. "

(Social Sciences)Seismic Repair
and RenovationSpring '99 - Summer '01Physics and Astronomy
BuildingNewSummer '01 - Fall '03La Kretz Hall (Life Sciences
Teaching and Conference Center)NewSummer '02 - Summer '03Knudsen Hall (Physical
Sciences)New Undergraduate Science LabsFall '02 - Summer '03Center for Genome Biology
and Molecular MedicineNewSummer '02 - Winter '05Kinsey Hall (Humanities
Building)Seismic Repair
and RenovationFall '03 - Fall '05

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