Campus: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- January 23, 2004

Proposition 55 on March Ballot Would Bring Cal Poly $34 Million to Replace Aging Buildings and Equipment

Proposition 55, the statewide school bond on the March 2 ballot, would bring $34 million to Cal Poly to replace aging buildings, classrooms and equipment which would otherwise be delayed significantly, university officials announced today.

Funding included in Proposition 55 for Cal Poly includes:

  • $28.5 million in construction money for a new building to house the university’s architecture and construction management programs, part of Cal Poly’s nationally-recognized College of Architecture and Environmental Design
  • $5.3 million to pay for new high-tech equipment for the Engineering IV building now under construction
  • $1.2 million for initial design and drawings for a new Center for Science and Mathematics to replace the 50-year-old science and math complex.

“The funding included in Proposition 55 for Cal Poly is essential to our ability to maintain and enhance our quality of education, and continue to provide the margin of excellence leaders of industry, employers, students, alumni and supporters expect from this university,” stressed Cal Poly President Warren J. Baker. “It also gives us some of the resources necessary to enhance the number of graduates in the fields critical to the California economy.

The Proposition 55 money earmarked for the new architecture and construction management building is crucial to the continued success of these programs, the president said. “Our bachelor’s program in architecture is ranked as one of the top three in the nation, and our graduates are in high demand. One of every five California architects is a Cal Poly graduate.” Baker said. “Our students are the architects of tomorrow, and they need access to 21st century classrooms and equipment.”

Money to design the new architecture and construction management building was part of Proposition 47, the statewide school bond approved overwhelmingly by voters in November 2002. Private donors have already donated nearly $2 million in cash and cash pledges, and corporate sponsors are now considering another $3 million in private support. The college is raising $7.5 million in private contributions to pay for a portion of the new architecture building.

The proposed 44,000 square-foot building would rise on the site of the existing Heating and Air Conditioning facility in the campus core. That complex is a conglomeration of small one-story buildings ranging from 40 to 60 years old, which currently house manufacturing engineering classrooms and labs and other classrooms, explained Facilities Director Robert Kitamura.

Included in the $28.5 million in Proposition 55 funding for construction of the new building is money to remodel architecture and industrial technology classrooms in the adjacent 30-year-old Engineering West building. Engineering West currently houses laboratories and offices for the College of Engineering and Environmental Design, engineering laboratories, and the industrial technology program.

The 165,000 square-foot Engineering West remodel would improve lighting, wiring, and classroom and lab space for the building, which was built in the 1960s.

Proposition 55 also includes $1.2 million in design money for a new multi-story building for the university’s College of Science and Mathematics at the heart of the campus.

That $1.2 million would pay for the initial design through the schematic drawing stage of a new 256,289 square-foot state-of the-art science facility that would replace the inefficient, sprawling and outdated science building in the heart of campus, Kitamura said.

“The new Center for Science and Mathematics will be designed to fully integrate 21st century technology into classrooms and laboratories,” stressed Dean Phil Bailey of the College of Science and Mathematics.
Prop 55 also allots Cal Poly $5.3 million to purchase new equipment for the Engineering IV building now under construction.

All of the Proposition 55 projects are important to Cal Poly because they would allow the university to strengthen its advantage as one of the nation’s top institutions for undergraduate study of engineering and architecture by offering students up-to-date facilities and equipment, President Baker stressed.

If California voters do not approve Proposition 55, the university will have to significantly delay the new architecture facility and remodel of the Engineering West classrooms, and will not have funding for new equipment for the Engineering IV building now under construction. Plans to start design work for the new Center for Science and Mathematics would also be put on hold.

“Many of our students would continue to be taught in aging buildings with poor wiring, lighting, and heat,” Baker said. Baker urged the university community and local residents to find out more about Proposition 55 and the benefits it would bring to local K-12 schools, Cuesta College and Cal Poly, as well as the local construction industry.

More details about what Proposition 55 would bring to San Luis Obispo County if approved in the March 2 election are available on the Cal Poly News Web site at, or at

Contact: Teresa Hendrix (805) 756-7266 or Leah Kolt (805) 756-1600

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