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Westside Research Park (WRP)

Overview

Laboratory science does not usually demand a thirty-foot tall, net-swaddled arena, but robotics and motion capture demand airspace. Now, after nearly a decade of planning, construction and retrofitting, the University of California Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE) finally has the room to let its wings unfurl.

On September 3rd, 2019, the Baskin School of Engineering opened its first new facility since the opening of its Silicon Valley campus in 2016:  the Westside Research Park (WRP) at 2300 Delaware Avenue, a former Texas Instruments semiconductor fabricator located beside the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. 

The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute were the first official BSOE tenants to move into the new building, occupying the former Texas Instruments administrative offices, which have been completely renovated. A grand opening to display these newly renovated facilities was hosted by the Genomics Institute and BSOE on October 18th, 2019.

The establishment of the Genomics Institute at the WRP represents a major step toward long-term vision of the main campus for the complex to be a premier research center supporting UC Santa Cruz and its growing research programs, creating greater opportunities for collaboration and innovation. 

Two other new laboratories, smart power and robotics/motion-capture, will also relocate to WRP. Professors Keith Corzine, Leila Parsa, Ricardo Sanfelice, Gabriel Elkhaim, Mircea Teodorescu, Michael Wehner, and Yu Zhang will be moving to the new facility.

They will join existing faculty labs from PBSci who are researching Materials Science, which also requires specialized equipment and lab space. 

 

Westside Research Park Google Site

 

Active Research Labs

To view a complete listing of active research labs, labs currently under construction, and other departments housed at the Westside Research Park, please visit the WRP homepage here.

 

History of the Site

Built in 1980, this 18.5 acre site was built as a silicon wafer manufacturing plant and first used by Synertech, then AT&T, and then Silicon Systems, which was eventually acquired by Texas Instruments. Old timers refer to it as the "T.I. Building". Once the plant shut down, the property was on the market for years before UCSC bought it on the cheap in 2004 for 5 million dollars. Buildings A and B were slightly remodeled, and administrative staff began to occupy the building in September, 2005. Staff moved to Scotts Valley in 2017 and the facility is now under almost constant development as a science and research campus.

The nearby pond was created to float logs for the the huge San Vicente Lumber Company around 1905. The on-site mill produced approximately 400 million board feet of lumber, most of it destined to rebuild San Francisco after the big quake and fire. The trees were harvested from the San Vincente drainage, above the Swanton/Davenport area. The company shut down in 1923, and afterwards the site was used to grow begonias by the Antonelli Brothers. The pond, once known as Moore Creek Lake and Mill Lake, became Antonelli Pond. It has been gradually shrinking due to silt ever since.

The Westside Research Park at 2300 Delaware Avenue is an enormous complex: three buildings (A, B and C) encompass 240,000 gross (154,000 net) square feet of space. There are state-of-the-art conference rooms inside, office space, loading docks, luncheon areas, and wide expanses of parking lot, which are all just a mere block away from Natural Bridges State Park. For years it was one of the largest taxpayers in the county, but the punishing economics of semiconducting manufacture eventually left the Santa Cruz facility obsolete.

Silicon Systems Inc. (which had been purchased by what was then TDK) sold the Westside Research Park complex to Texas Instruments in who in turn sold the plant to the University of California Santa Cruz. Since then, it’s had a number of evolutions: in the beginning Building B was used by the administration for office space until the Scotts Valley location was completed. Meanwhile, in Building C, retrofitting of the old clean rooms began: in 2009, the first two labs (for materials science) were completed in building C, and plans were drawn up for the next two: robotics and smart power which also required space and specialized equipment. The Genomics Institute was also expanding rapidly and needed space.