College gains development permit for coastal center

UCSD plans to remodel its Center for Coastal Studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

PORT HUENEME — Plans to remodel the Center for Coastal Studies at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography took a step forward as the California Coastal Commission approved a Coastal Development Project application at its March meetings in Port Hueneme.

UCSD proposed to remodel and make significant improvements to the Center for Coastal Studies, which currently exists on the Scripps Institution campus. The waterfront center, which is located near Scripps Pier, has occupied a building previously built by the U.S. Navy during the early 1960s.

Student and faculty researchers at the Center for Coastal Studies research beaches, cliffs, surf zone currents and waves, according to Coastal Commission staff. The building they are housed in, Coastal Commission staff added, has been deteriorating over the years and is no longer in compliance with current American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

Almost half of the building’s exterior walls and the entire third floor of the building would be demolished, according to a Coastal Commission staff report. Demolished areas would be modernized. An adjacent seawall, which would protect the new building until at least 2070, would remain in its current condition.

The building was originally a concrete tank used for experimental desalinization, Coastal Commission staff stated in a report to commissioners.

“In the 1960s the concrete tank was converted into a two-story research facility for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and in 1972 a third, wooden floor was added to the building,” Coastal Commission staff added. “The building incorporates an existing concrete seawall on the western wall of the structure.”

The project is expected to cost about $6.1 million and would be sourced by deferred maintenance, donors and Scripps Institution funds, according to UCSD’s Campus Planning department.

Nearby Scripps Pier is used to launch research boats, study ocean conditions and conduct scientific diving. The 1,000-foot pier was built in 1916

The Center for Coastal Studies is a research unit for Scripps Institution of Oceanography and uses the data it gathers from the ocean to gain a better understanding of the functionality of the world’s largest waterways.

UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography rendering

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