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September 25, 2006

Regents OK long-range plan for UCSC

The University of California Board of Regents has approved UCSC’s proposed 2005–2020 Long-Range Development Plan and the accompanying Final Environmental Impact Report.

The action by the Regents took place during the board’s September 19-21 meeting in San Francisco.

“Now, we have to work on completing our academic plan and deciding how to implement it, including how and at what pace we will grow,” Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal said in a message to the campus community after the vote. “These decisions will take place only after extensive discussion on campus, including consultation with the Academic Senate.” (Read message.)

The Regents’ vote of support on the last day of the three-day meeting came on the heels of a presentation made by Blumenthal and campus architect Frank Zwart during the first day of the meeting. The Regents’ Committee on Grounds and Buildings voted unanimously to support the 2005 LRDP and FEIR.

The LRDP and FEIR that Blumenthal brought to the board had been scaled back from the draft versions of both documents, which had been based on an enrollment number of 21,000. The 21,000 figure had been recommended by the faculty Strategic Futures Committee early in the three-year effort to update UCSC’s LRDP.

Blumenthal, however, told the board that an enrollment figure of 19,500 would enable UCSC to meet its academic objectives, serve the state’s educational needs, and respond to community concerns expressed about UCSC growth.

Blumenthal noted in his message that, “not surprisingly,” several elected officials and others from the campus and local communities voiced dissent at the Regents meeting.

“I want to emphasize that I am personally committed to continuing discussions that will allow us to collaboratively address the community concerns that have been expressed,” Blumenthal said. “Besides the ongoing series of meetings between UCSC and city staff, I intend to continue to meet with community leaders seeking to find mutually acceptable solutions to the impacts of our growth.”

In addressing the Regents, Blumenthal noted that the 19,500 figure represents an upper envelope to growth by 2020 rather than a commitment to grow to that
number of students.

Within the UC system, Long-Range Development Plans are prepared to support the academic goals of individual campuses.

They also take into account projected statewide enrollment demand. Much like municipal General Plans, LRDP’s define a building program and a land-use map that serve as a planning framework for possible future growth.

“The LRDP serves as a general blueprint for growth, when growth becomes necessary,” noted Zwart. “The adoption by the Regents of an LRDP is not a commitment to reaching the enrollment number, nor to specific projects, construction schedules, or funding priorities.”

For more information about the Long-Range Development Plan process, go to: lrdp.ucsc.edu.

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