Just north of UC Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Apartment Complex sits a warehouse home to the school’s mock-up of Munger Hall.
Last November, photos sent to the Nexus detailed a full-scale mock-up of a second story house, including a kitchen, a common area and the infamous windowless bedrooms. New images taken last week and obtained by the Nexus from an anonymous source reflect a number of changes to the proposed design.
The once unfurnished shelves and walls were decorated to appear as though students were living in the mock-up. A “90’s Movie Night” poster appears on newly painted hallway walls. A newly installed island took the place of tables and chairs, which were moved to the common area to function as study desks.
The bedroom spaces saw the most striking changes, with its furnishings being replaced with updated shelves, drawers, a bed frame and a desk. The old ceiling light has been substituted with an overhead fan.
The bedrooms were also newly outfitted with personal items and various decorations, depicting a hypothetical student’s lifestyle in the 7-by-10 foot room.
Munger Hall drew national outcry last year over its unique design.
The mock-up was recently visited by some students of professor Rita Bright’s ENV S 135B Advanced Environmental Planning course, who were given a tour of the mock-up as its planning relates to aspects of their class.
Former UCSB spokesperson Andrea Estrada previously refused to divulge the location of the mock-up after the Nexus made its existence public last year.
The Nexus also identified the location of the warehouse where the mockup is being kept: 389 South Los Carneros Road. The property was purchased in 2013 according to current UCSB spokesperson Shelly Leachman.
Formerly a location of Mammoth Moving & Storage, Inc., the warehouse has done little to advertise its current contents — even keeping the rusted MAMMOTH sign on an outside wall.
The university put out a call in March of 2016 for professionals that could help renovate the warehouse, eventually contracting with DesignARC, Inc.
“The construction cost estimate for the project is $2,000,000,” read the advertisement obtained by the Nexus, with renovations “contingent upon receipt of funding from a variety of sources.”
White vans marked “UC Santa Barbara” can occasionally be seen just outside the warehouse, along with vehicles belonging to a number of different companies, including Clean Air Express and Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc.
The university makes use of Clean Air Express, a bus service that “serves residents of Northern Santa Barbara County commuting to their jobs in Goleta and Santa Barbara,” according to their website. Buses drive all the way from Lompoc and Santa Maria into Goleta every weekday. There is no official stop at the warehouse listed on the company’s website, but that hasn’t stopped the Clean Air Express company’s buses from being parked inside the lot.
The school’s official bus system with the company – where riders from northern parts of the county were shuttled directly into UCSB – ended in January 2022 due to low ridership, according to the UC Santa Barbara Transportation and Parking Services website.
Trucks belonging to Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc. – a west coast-based transportation company – can also be seen transporting goods to the warehouse. The company does not have locations in Goleta or Santa Barbara, with its closest being in Santa Maria.
Leachman told the Nexus that the project is being funded by “the donor,” referring to billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charles Munger who designed the proposed controversial dorm.
A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the April 21, 2022, print edition of the Daily Nexus.