Humanities Gets New Gateway

UC Irvine’s reputation of being ‘Under Construction Indefinitely’ continues to prove accurate as construction begins on the new Humanities Gateway Building, which will relieve the faculty overflow confronting the expanding humanities department.
The new building will be constructed in the vacant area, which was previously occupied by the Humanities Interim classroom facilities, next to the Humanities Instructional Building (HIB) and across from Humanities Hall (HH). It is scheduled to be completed in spring of 2009, and will serve mainly as an office building for the School of Humanities. Additionally, it will have an auditorium that holds about 110 people and a film screening room that seats roughly 90 people.
‘We’re particularly excited about the film screening room,’ said Kathy Haines, assistant dean of the School of Humanities. ‘[The room] will support our program in film and media studies, in addition to other departments that use film as part of their curriculum.’
The side of the building that faces Ring Mall will look similar to HIB; however, the back of the building will take on a more futuristic look, with smooth curvature and glassy surfaces. The need for a new humanities building has been recognized for a number of years.
‘Before I arrived at the school, it was determined that a new humanities building would have to be planned and built during this decade,’ Haines said. ‘The school continues to grow, and right now we are very pressed for space, and so it will provide room for us to spread out some of our current people. It will also give us the opportunity to house the faculty, staff and students who are yet to join the school.’
The department of art history and the department of film and media studies will be relocated to the new building. However, there are still many spots that have not yet been assigned. The building will also serve as a humanities research area.
It will house the International Center for Writing and Translation, Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Humanities Research Institute. The last of these will include space for visiting faculty from other UC campuses in need of a place for focused research projects at UCI.
After the preliminary planning, the building proposal was submitted to the state of California through the Office of Capitol Planning. This is the office in charge of planning new buildings and drafting proposals, which are submitted to the UC Regents, who then submit a UC-wide proposal to the state.
The state is the main source of funding for the academic buildings. Janet Mason, director of the Office of Capitol Planning, said, ‘We submitted the original proposal in July of 2005 [to the state].’
Most of the building’s funding comes from the state of California, which contributed $27.8 million. UCI added $10 million through debt financing. The architects of the building are from a firm called Fentress Bradburn. The contractor is Hansel Phelps. After its completion in spring 2009, the building will likely open in summer 2009.
Artist renderings of the Humanities Gateway Building are available on the Humanities Web site at
http://www.humanities.uci.edu/SOH/.