Wednesday, July 30, 2008

UCSB dedicates new entrance

BY BENJAMIN GOTTLIEB
DAILY SOUND CORRESPONDENT

Nobel laureates, faculty and community members gathered at UCSB yesterday to witness the official unveiling and completion of the new Henley Gate, a 2.4 million dollar renovation of the university’s East entrance.
UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang traced the history of the entrance during his opening remarks at the ceremony, as photos from the UCSB archives displayed the gate’s journey until its current state.

“This entrance used to be a military base kiosk, with a background of World War II barracks,” Yang said.
Today, the military buildings of the past have been replaced by buildings dedicated to the sciences, elevating UCSB into the prestigious realm of the most revered public institutions in the nation as a result of its merits.
With construction spanning nearly a year, the new entrance showcases a 26 foot tall, concave arch, complimenting the entrance’s two lane roundabout. Henley Gate will serve as UCSB’s main entrance with access via highway 217, and is one of only three available access points to the university by roadway – Mesa and El Colegio Roads via Los Carneros Road are the only other roadways which heed access to the university for motor traffic.
The short, twenty minute long ceremony began at 5:45 p.m. and was followed by a cordial reception complete with hors d'oeuvres and wine, compliments of the university.
Straying from the traditional model of the East Gate, Henley Gate will not house a parking and/or information kiosk — a new kiosk will be placed near Campbell Hall, with appropriate directions to the kiosk available via signs upon entering the university.
“We signed the contract for the construction of the new Henley Gate last fall, so it’s been short of a year, with formal construction beginning in January of this year,” said Marc Fisher, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Design and Facilities. “We used materials in the construction of the arch that represent Santa Barbara… the sandstone which is seen on campus was used to build the foundations for the gate.”
According to Fisher, 2.4 million dollars were allocated to the construction of the entryway, including another 2.5 to 2.6 million dollars for the roundabout immediately following the campus entrance. The total cost of the East Gate project, which includes the Henley Gate and the Steck Roundabout, is estimated at 5 million dollars.
Fisher said the idea for constructing an arch at the east entrance to UCSB was something agreed upon in the early stages of production.
“There were two driving points for the construction of the arch at East Gate. For one, we wanted the entrance to be big... big enough to receive freeway traffic and big enough to mitigate the car traffic and the bigger landscape,” Fisher said. “The scale had to be right and we did not want the new entrance to be dwarfed by the big buildings in the background. Also, we wanted the gate to be embracing as an entrance and an exit, and that is how we settled on the concave structure of the arch. It’s a combination of making you feel welcome when you enter and embracing you as you leave.”
Jeff Henley, a key figure in the fundraising for the gate’s construction and whom the gate is dedicated, said the project’s completion would not have occurred so rapidly without the dedication of UCSB’s Chancellor.
“A lot of people were involved in this project, but it was Henry [Yang] that was the driving force,” Henley said. “Because of a little thing called the Coastal Commission, it took a long time to get the approvals to build this gate, but it was Henry who traveled and met with everyone to get their approvals.”
Henley said he first arrived to UCSB 46 years ago as an incoming freshman and that both his brother and sister followed his lead in attending the university.
“The gate is more of a gateway to a terrific university that is only going to get better,” Henley said.”
Yang confessed in his speech that the construction of the gate was less than simple, as the project was subject to many regulations, stipulations and concerns.
“There were a lot of twists and turns during the construction of this gate.I must have had hundreds of discussions, phone calls, and e-mails with Marc Fisher and Martie Levy over the past five years,” Yang said. “Needless to say, there must have been ten or even a hundred times as many communications among all of our sponsors and colleagues, and those who worked tirelessly on this project. It takes a village to raise a child. I must say, it takes hundreds, even thousands, of communications to build an entrance.”
The new East Entrance design also won a Project of the Year Award from the Santa Barbara-Ventura branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2007.
UCSB Chairmain of the Trustees Fred Steck said the completion of the Henley Gate officially finished the renovations to UCSB’s East Gate and was a necessary improvement the university as it continues to gain national recognition.
“I’m going to miss the kiosk, a sight of many sophomore pranks,” said Steck, a UCSB Graduate. “However, this is now a fabulous entrance to a wonderful campus.”
The Steck Roundabout, which was completed over a year ago in the summer of 2007, was the first improvement made by the university to its east entrance. The project called for the relocation of a 60 foot fichus tree from outside of the Engineering 2 building on campus to be placed inside of the roundabout.
Arch architect Chuck Woodburn said the notion for creating an entrance with an artistic flair was something the administration was fixed upon from the initial stages of the project
“Although the arch has been done for nearly a week, today is the official completion,” Woodburn said. “[UCSB] needed someone to take the idea of an arch and run with it. The whole arch idea was kind of always there… this was five years in the making.”
Yang said he was very pleased with the Henley Gate and its showcasing of high-efficiency LED lighting, honoring his faculty colleagues who are pioneers in solid-state lighting, Herb Kroemer, Steve DenBaars, Umesh Mishra, and Shuji Nakamura.
From the podium at Kirby’s Crossing, Yang summed up his interpretation of what the newly renovated entrance means for UCSB and its community.
“Henley Gate welcomes all who enter, and immediately conveys the splendor and quality of our campus,” Yang said. “Our Steck Circle connects all sides of our campus, with landscaping that embodies harmony and beauty. And here we are in Kirby Crossing, this path links our gateway to the heart of our campus… each part enriches the whole of our campus.”

4 comments:

monument to ego said...

Unlike the all-administration version of this story by this Daily Sound correspondent here, another news story got the other point of view on this monument to ego and the University inability to say no to donors no matter how stupid their directed donations are.

http://www.kcsb.org/?p=796

Anonymous said...

The KCSB report is worth listening to.

Does anyone find:

!) the architecture of UCSB to be sterile and indistinctive?

2) the UCSB campus and its policies to be unwelcoming to local residents?

Anonymous said...

Forget the "gate." What about the huge and hideous "art work" on the building at the entrance. Unbelievable! What did that cost?

Anonymous said...

Perfect for drunken students to climb on and injury themselves. This gate was so necessary.