Construction work at the Barn

How to get around campus during a construction boom

Expect some closures, delays, and heavy equipment

August 7, 2019
Author: Imran Ghori
August 7, 2019

New construction work is in full swing at UC Riverside, and with it come some growing pains.

The campus community can continue to see some road, pathway, and other closures accompanying the work in the coming months. 

Five major projects are already underway with more, including the Student Success Center, kicking off soon in what is one of the busiest construction periods in the campus’ history.

Transportation and planning officials are hoping to minimize the impacts and say they will keep the campus informed about what to expect.

“Be patient and understand that this is reflective of this very exciting time of growth in UCR’s history,” said Drew Hecht, co-director of project management for the Planning, Design and Construction department, offering his advice to the campus. The department has an interactive list of active projects on its website.

The Transportation and Parking Services Department plans to launch a website in September that will allow students, staff, and faculty to check regularly for road and other closures they may encounter on campus. The department will also provide updates on its Twitter (@UCRTAPS) and Instagram (@ucrtaps) accounts.

New signage will be posted at construction sites along with extra signs warning of notable closures or disruptions at least a couple days in advance. Major closures will see warnings up to four weeks in advance.

“It’s going to be throughout the campus,” said Irma Henderson, director of Transportation and Parking Services. “The best thing is just for people to pay attention and be aware as we try to get information out.”

The campus community can also check Inside UCR for a monthly update of construction activity, closures, detours, and other related advisories. 

Disruption will include fenced-off areas for construction staging; noise from vehicles and construction equipment; and traffic from delivery vehicles and utility work near the roadways and pedestrian paths. Where possible, some work will be done at night or during early morning to minimize disruption.

Here’s where and when to watch for construction work:

North District

A portion of Linden Street at the north end of campus was closed in both directions earlier this month due to underground utility improvements being installed as part of the North District project

Detours are in place during the closure, which continues through Sept. 12. More partial closures may take place on an intermittent basis as work continues through fall 2021.

Crews are razing a 50-acre World War II-era housing complex that was shuttered two years ago to make way for new student housing complexes, athletic fields, and multipurpose space. The first phase will feature 1,500 new beds in 400 apartment-style units.


Work began in December on the 760-bed Dundee Residence Hall and 830-seat Glasgow dining facility —a complementary project to North District. Some pathways have been closed around the project area behind the Aberdeen-Inverness housing complex during construction while parking Lot 22 is permanently closed.

The buildings are expected to be completed by fall 2020.

The Barn

The sidewalk on West Campus Drive and other walkways around the Barn have been closed since construction started on the renovation project last year. At times, motorists on West Campus Drive have encountered narrow lanes in the northbound direction and should continue to watch out for them on an intermittent basis. Advance notice will be given for any partial lane closures.

The new facility is expected to be completed by the end of the year and open in early 2020.

Pierce Hall

Part of the area surrounding the central campus building has been fenced off since January to allow for construction trailers in a staging area around Pierce Hall’s north wing for the renovation project. A temporary construction wall has been installed to separate it from the rest of the building, which remains in use.

The first phase is expected to be completed by March with the next phase continuing from January 2020 to June 2021. The staging area will remain fenced off for the remainder of the project.

Batchelor Hall

Construction will start in December or January on the renovation project, which, like Pierce Hall, involves replacing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Pedestrian access will be limited and part of the lawn near Boyce and Webber halls will be fenced off for construction trailers and materials. A small part of Parking Lot 11 next to Batchelor will also be used for construction staging.

The project is expected to be completed in 2021.

Plant Growth Environments 

Construction began earlier this summer on the project, which will add new greenhouse space and support plant research space.

Expect to see intermittent closures on East Campus and Eucalyptus drives with traffic reduced to one lane on occasions. 

Work will continue through September 2020.

Student Success Center

With its central location near the Arts and Carillon malls, construction of the 57,000-square-foot building on a portion of the lawn is expected to have a major impact. That area, next to both the CHASS INTS building and the Student Services Building, will be fenced off for construction.

Expect to see heavy equipment with some noise and vibration impacts to neighboring buildings as excavation and grading begins in November. The center is expected to be completed in July 2021.

“It’s right in the middle of everything, so everybody’s going to see it,” said Blythe Wilson, co-director of project management for Planning, Design & Construction.

Delivery of equipment and materials will need to be transported across the Carillon mall . Every intention will be made for such deliveries to occur before 7 a.m. to minimize disruption, he said.

Parking Structure 1

Construction will start in December on a new parking structure at the eastern end of the existing Lot 13. The structure, which will accommodate 1,200 spaces — a net increase of 800 — is expected to open in late 2020 or early 2021.

The remaining western portion of the lot will remain open during the construction period.

Other projects

The walkway between the Arts and CHASS buildings remains partially closed as work continues on an arts sculpture, which is expected to be completed by fall. 

Work will begin in November on a School of Medicine Clinical Skills and Simulation Suite in the Orbach Library basement. 

Planners are also retooling plans for the Mobility Hub bus transit stop, which could begin construction early next year.