As predicted, the UC Regents approved the architectural and CEQA review for the planned new UCLA Teaching and Learning Center for the Health Sciences with a virtual rubber stamp. There was one question on funding from a regent and the answer was that $120 million (!) would be raised from gifts. No follow up on funding or costs was part of the approval. By the way, if you raise $120 million by tapping donors, that means there will be less money from gifts that could be tapped for some other purpose. In past regental reviews of this project, the issue of a high cost per usable square foot was raised. No questions about that concern were raised this time. The Center may well be a worthy project. But as with the case of the UCLA hotel project, ultimately regental review of these big buck affairs – even if objections are raised along the way – ends up in approval with no follow up to see what actually occurs. And there is no independent auditing capacity available for the initial approval or for any follow up.
Below is a link to the audio of the approval of the Grounds and Building Committee on 3-13-13. Gov. Brown attended part of the regents meeting that day and, as a regent, had the full agenda available. Apparently, despite his hopes that online education will save some money, the approval of large and expensive capital projects is not a gubernatorial concern.
The full regents agenda for this meeting with links to video is at: