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After seven years of being located in different parts of campus, the Institute for International Studies (IIS) and its seven affiliated centers finally will be consolidated under one roof.
The institute, an independent lab organized as a federation composed of a central unit and a series of affiliated centers, currently is housed in the second floor of Encina Hall, the basement of Littlefield Center, Galvez House and temporary space in Encina Commons and the modulars.
The hodgepodge arrangement is due, in part, to the peculiar nature of the institute, said director Walter Falcon. "If you think about the university being organized by disciplines and departments and schools, IIS is different in that it is interdisciplinary, it cuts across schools and is international. It is very important but it doesn't fit very neatly into a lot of organizational charts."
Last month, the Board of Trustees granted program approval to the first part of a plan to move all IIS programs to Encina Hall. The project, which will occur in two phases, calls for the reconstruction of Encina Hall East (which has been vacant since a fire damaged the building in 1972) and the remodeling of additional space in Encina Hall Central. The second part of the project will go before the board for program approval at a later date.
Falcon said he was pleased by the board's decision. "I think there is a feeling that the university as a whole needs to become more internationally oriented," said Falcon, who added that the allocation of this space to the institute "is just another indicator of the university's commitment to IIS."
The institute's affiliated centers include the Asia/Pacific Research Center, the Center for European Studies, the Center for International Security and Arms Control, the Global Environment Forum, the North America Forum, the International Political Economy Forum and the Stanford Computer Industry Project.
Bringing IIS and its affiliates together will result in cost-savings, Falcon said. More important, he said, it will encourage the creation of cross-disciplinary research projects.
Take the issue of energy development in China, for example.
"If China decides to use soft coal, they will put a lot of crud into the air," Falcon said. "That is a big, big, big environmental issue. The fact that you have Japan downwind affects the relationship between those two countries. So, this is a topic that involves the Asia/Pacific Group, the security group and the environmental group.
"If people from these different areas are working together in proximity, it is easier to take on this type of collaborative project. But it would be really hard to do it if the seven people working on the project are in seven different locations."
According to the budget memo presented to the Board of Trustees' Committee on Land and Buildings, the projected total cost of renovating Encina Hall East is $14.4 million. About $8.4 million will be provided from university long-term debt. The institute will seek donations for the remaining $6 million needed to fund the east wing renovation, as well as donations to remodel parts of Encina Hall Center.
A big leg up on this effort was provided recently by a $5 million donation from the Bechtel Family Foundation. A new conference center will be built on the first floor of Encina Hall Center to commemorate this lead gift, Falcon said.
-By Marisa Cigarroa-