A letter sent this morning, from me, Mary Croughan, provost and executive vice chancellor; and David Lubarsky, vice chancellor, Human Health Sciences, and chief executive officer, UC Davis Health
To All UC Davis Faculty and Staff:
We wanted to provide you with an update about the Aggie Square project because the team has made significant progress in recent months.
On Wednesday (March 24), Aggie Square reached a major milestone: UC Davis, the city of Sacramento and project developer Wexford Science & Technology established a community benefits partnership agreement. This agreement is the result of actively listening to community and neighborhood groups over the past three years. It spells out specific benefits that the Aggie Square project will generate, including more than $50 million from tax revenue and city funds to build affordable housing near the development, create thousands of jobs and job training, and transportation improvements, among many others.
The university has never taken more seriously its responsibility to be a good neighbor, partnering with members of the communities in which our campuses are located, than during the COVID-19 crisis. With this landmark agreement, we believe that we have charted a course for future collaborations with our community partners in Sacramento in the years to come.
We also have been listening to our faculty, staff and students on the Davis and Sacramento campuses about what benefits they hope Aggie Square will bring.
We already know that the connections among faculty on both campuses are a clear benefit of Aggie Square. The overall design and architecture of the project will promote collaborations across disciplines, and the new, multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art teaching center will foster experiential teaching and learning. The teaching center, which will occupy part of two floors in the Lifelong Learning Building, will allow for physical reconfiguration to accommodate different pedagogical approaches.
We’re excited about Quarter at Aggie Square, which will continue bringing new opportunities to teach intensive classes to undergraduates on issues of importance to faculty. The first Quarter “experience,” focused on Transformative Justice Studies, took place during fall quarter. We offered Advancing Health Care Equity over winter quarter, and Multilingual Education for California begins next week.
Our faculty will also have the opportunity for significant research in high-tech laboratories at Aggie Square. New lab space will be available for Davis campus faculty and School of Medicine faculty, with the cross-disciplinary opportunities a function of the project’s design. Aggie Square will fast-track the ability to bring treatments to the bedside, thanks to cutting-edge research happening in shared spaces. In addition, Aggie Square will create new research space for the School of Medicine and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
For faculty interested in community-facing endeavors, the Aggie Square-based Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement (PSE) serves the public in extraordinary ways. PSE has already been building on this foundation. Its ability to support relationships between communities and UC Davis scholars will accelerate the capacity to have a positive public impact on our neighbors, on the state of California and on the world beyond.
We wanted to let you know that UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) will move its Sacramento offices to Aggie Square. CPE is the workforce development arm of the university, and it gives faculty the opportunity to share their unique academic expertise with the adult learners who drive our region’s economy. By partnering with UC Davis faculty, private industry and public institutions, CPE develops programs that support working professionals as they refresh and expand job skills over the course of their careers.
Staff on both the Davis and Sacramento campuses will be physically better connected, thanks to improved transportation between the two cities via the Causeway Connection electric shuttle bus. Transportation around the Sacramento campus will also improve as we add bike lanes and a mobility hub for bikeshare and carshare options. As for parking, a new garage, under construction now, will open by the end of 2021.
This new parking structure, positioned closer to the hospital, will replace the parking lot on the current Aggie Square site. We will construct another parking lot to address the demands that Aggie Square will bring.
Affordable housing near UC Davis Health is another advantage to our employees. A recent survey determined that nearly 20 percent of staff who work at UC Davis Health live in the ZIP codes impacted by Aggie Square. For those seeking affordable housing options or options for living closer to their workplaces, this increased focus on housing will provide a viable and attractive option for our employees.
On the Davis campus, Aggie Square will provide new opportunities to better serve students for their academic and career growth. For example, a powerful platform that Aggie Square will create is linked to Aggie Launch. Both programs share similar goals of offering internships and experiential learning with industry partners.
From a community impact perspective, we’re proud of the work our colleagues from both campuses are doing in Sacramento. Our School of Education leads college opportunity and young scholars programs in K-12 schools in Sacramento. School of Medicine students and faculty regularly participate in vaccine clinics, free health care clinics and medical outreach. And the UC Davis Health Office for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, headed by Dr. Hendry Ton, is actively working toward making UC Davis Health an anchor institution for community health.
We are confident that the Aggie Square project — funded by private investment from Wexford, which will also manage the buildings — will generate other unexpected benefits to staff and faculty on both UC Davis campuses and also for the communities beyond. It will build on the work we already have in place: creating thousands of jobs, space for research and academic pursuits, breakthroughs and innovations in medicine and technology, and healthier communities — economically, physically and socially.
As a top-ranked university, we are guided by our public service mission to serve our communities, be they local, national or global. Our work during the pandemic has exemplified this commitment; Aggie Square puts us on track to further succeed in that mission in transformational ways.
Gary S. May
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences and Chief Executive Officer, UC Davis Health