Thursday, March 16, 2000
Steve Nation (510) 987-0036            


The University of California Board of Regents voted today (March 16) to revert ownership of approximately 17 acres of land in the city of Santa Clara to the state.

Meeting in San Francisco, regents authorized the secretary to formally convey their interest in the land now occupied by the Bay Area Research and Extension Center (BAREC).

By finding that the BAREC property is no longer necessary for agricultural research and reverting it to the state, regents satisfied a provision in the State Budget Act of 1999 that  augments UC Cooperative Extension's operating budget by $2 million a year.

The Bay Area Research and Extension Center is one of 10 field research and education outreach facilities operated by the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In the early years, orchards and fields surrounded the BAREC site, then known as the Deciduous Fruit Field Station. Today, it is near one of the busiest intersections in the Bay Area (Stevens Creek and Winchester boulevards) and bordered by commercial and residential development.

The smallest of the division's research and extension centers, the BAREC site was conveyed to regents for agricultural research by the state Department of Finance in two transactions. The first parcel was deeded to UC in 1952 and the second in 1963. Each conveyance specified that in the event regents determined at a later date the property was no longer desirable or necessary for use in agricultural research, the property would revert to and vest in the state of California. This is the action regents took today.

"Decisions that involve closing a facility are never easy, but we believe the benefits to California's citizens and communities from a strengthened Cooperative Extension program warrant this action," said W.R. Gomes, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

"We are confident that research now underway at BAREC can be completed in the near future or relocated to other sites," Gomes said. "We will make every effort to assist our researchers through this transition, including working with the Department of General Services to negotiate a phase-out period for operations at the facility, and finding space for ongoing projects at other UC research and extension centers or on land owned by public and private cooperators."

Current research at BAREC includes programs on turf grass, water management, integrated pest management, field crops, alternatives to methyl bromide and composting.

Cooperative Extension was established in 1914 to extend science-based information from UC campuses to rural residents across California. Today, Cooperative Extension serves the educational needs of rural and urban communities through more than 50 county offices, including Santa Clara County. 

In the early 1990s, with the state experiencing unprecedented budget deficits, funding for UC Cooperative Extension and other public service programs was reduced substantially to help the university maintain adequate resources for classroom teaching and instruction. During this period, state funding for Cooperative Extension programs was cut in excess of $2 million and more than 50 locally based county advisor positions were eliminated.

Since the action taken by regents does not in itself result in a change in land use, the determination of necessity and the related reversion of the BAREC property to the state has been classified as exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

# # #