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Double Donors Lead to ‘Split’ at UCLA

When are two buildings actually one?


When they comprise a new research facility at UCLA.


In an unusual building project at the Westwood campus, one large research facility is being built as if it were two separate buildings the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center and Research Building 2.


The project is an uncommon exercise in balancing the desires of prominent donors and the university’s needs.


Initially the school had planned for the two wings of the facility to be separate, free-standing structures since they were funded by different sources. But in an effort to increase the projects’ efficiencies they were combined sort of.


“You are going to achieve economies of scale when you have larger projects,” said university spokesman Phil Hampton. “The building (wings) share an electrical mechanical system. So for example, one large fan costs less than two medium sized ones.”


The 228,000-square-foot building on UCLA’s South Campus has been under construction since summer 2003, and is slated to open in February after a tricky construction process.


“We’ve had to keep finances separate and the contractors needed two sets of documents for everything,” said Dan Adams, project director for JCM Group, the construction management firm.


Research Building 2, the larger of the two facilities at 133,000 square feet, will cost $67.7 million. The university has used about $30 million in state money and $37 million of its own money to finance the project. Donor money accounts for about $1 million in funding for the building wing, which will house brain and microbiology research facilities.


The $42.8 million Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center wing has been largely funded by a $30 million donation from the Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Orthopaedic Hospital, a downtown Los Angeles private hospital that is moving its inpatient facility to UCLA’s Santa Monica health center. As such, the hospital will have the naming rights for this portion of the building, which will house molecular, cellular, and gene therapy research facilities.


And because of the hospital’s sizable donation, which was made in 1998, it had quite a bit of design input for its wing. James V. Luck Jr., the hospital’s president and medical director, said that the Orthopaedic Hospital was comfortable with UCLA’s proposal to combine the two projects, as long as his hospital’s wing remained distinct, with its own identity.


The four-story building was designed by Connecticut-based Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and features UCLA’s standard red brick motif. But there are subtle differences to the exterior design of the two wings.


“As long as there was enough distinction so we could preserve identity we were happy to join the buildings,” Luck Jr. said.

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