Big cutbacks in state funding have left UCSD students fuming and campus administrators slashing staff, but the same financial constraints apparently don’t apply to the university’s medical center. Approval of a planned “East Campus bed tower” to house 245 patients was on this week’s UC regents’ agenda. Costing a cool $663,800,000, the project, which also includes capacity for 11 new operating rooms and renovations of the existing Thornton Hospital, would be financed by a complicated combination of loans, bonds, leases, reserves, and $131 million in “gift funds.” The regents authorized planning for the complex two years ago over the objections of those opposed to the university’s desire to expand its facilities in University City at the expense of its Hillcrest hospital complex. Construction would start in March 2012 with completion by November 2015.
In another action scheduled for yesterday, the regents were set to discuss a “waiver of policy requiring housing on campus and housing allowance” for UCSD chancellor Marye Anne Fox. In 2004, the university shut down the official chancellor’s residence, planning to demolish the historic building and build anew on its La Jolla Farms site. But protests by preservationists and the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee, which opposed disturbing a Native American gravesite on the property, stalled the project. Efforts to come up with nearly $8 million in donations to fund the house also proved problematic.