New building plan seems to prioritize corn over education
The land surrounding UC Davis is precious because of the school’s reputation as a top farming university. Recent attempts by the school have shown a desire to further increase the emphasis that the school has on farming. The goal: create more land.
While the university does not plan on buying any new property, Dave Crock, the head of campus development, announced the school’s plans to save space. In place where buildings once were, crops will soon stand.
“We have seen the model that schools like NYU and Boston University have set. There is no campus,” said Dave Crock. “We like that; the schools are in the city. Davis is a farm town, so we figured we would bring the farm closer to the students.”
Anything west of the Quad will be torn down and replaced with various crops and livestock, with the exception of any of the athletic facilities and the health center. Classrooms will be demolished and a corn field will stand where Wellman once overlooked the Quad.
The tallest building on campus, Sproul Hall, will soon become the second-tallest building on campus. The school is aiming to begin construction on Napolitano Hall by March 2017. Napolitano Hall is estimated to cost the school $176 million, but it will be home to nearly 400 classrooms. The building will be 46 stories high and will go right behind the ARC, where Hutchinson Field currently exists. Each classroom will have hardwood floors and each lab will have its own eye wash station, among many of the other state-of-the-art amenities.
“Its architectural scheme is meant to replicate that of the New York Public Library. We want that ‘woah’ factor,” Crock said.
Once Napolitano Hall is completed and classes have begun there, the demolition of the other buildings will begin so as to ensure that no classrooms are lost in the time of construction.
Students are skeptical of the decision, as many are confused as to why the layout of the school needs to change.
“Davis is flat. Why change that culture? I like the way the campus is set up,” said Tom Vickers, a third-year international agricultural development major. “The school is doing this to benefit my field, but the cost of this makes zero sense. I don’t need corn across the street from the CoHo. It’s not my top priority.”
There is a clear disconnect between what the priorities around campus are. The school isn’t lacking land. UC Davis owns a lot of the surrounding fields that it already uses for farming. Most importantly, the campus needs to be fit for the students and their preferences. A new enormous building is not at the top of this list of priorities, especially given that space is not an issue in the flat city that is Davis.
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