Cal State Dominguez Hills Starts $82M Innovation Center

October 24, 2017

Officials at California State University-Dominguez Hills are billing an $82 million science center now under construction as a boon to students at the campus in Carson as well as L.A.’s growing tech sector.

The three-story, 91,000-square foot instructional and research building, which broke ground late last month, will include more than 30 classrooms and labs, all geared toward training students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is slated to open at the end of the fall 2019 semester.

“With Silicon Beach, the region’s burgeoning focus on entrepreneurial and business mentorship, and our growth as a top biotechnology hub, Los Angeles is experiencing business and economic expansion that has not been seen in decades,” Cal State Dominguez Hills President Willie Hagan said in a statement. “That is why CSU Dominguez Hills’ Science and Innovation center is so critical. The facility will directly impact the industries that boost Los Angeles’ economy the most by providing graduates for the workforce with turnkey in-demand skills for generations to come.”

The Toyota USA Foundation pitched in on funding for the sciences building earlier this year with its announcement of a $4 million gift; in exchange, the university granted naming rights to Toyota. The California State University system is providing $67 million for the building, with the remaining $11 million expected from private donations through the university’s capital campaign.

The building will connect through a couple of catwalks to the existing natural sciences and mathematics building.

The groundbreaking marked one of the final milestones as president for Hagan, who announced last month he is retiring in June.

“When I think about all the students, all the ideas – all the ‘ah-ha!’ moments that are going to come out of this building – I feel a deep sense of pride and joy knowing that thousands of lives are going to be changed forever,” Hagan said.

HGA Architects of Minneapolis, Minn., is the principal designer of the building, which will feature a blue and gray façade with a “decoded DNA strand” design in the paneling.

John Thomlinson, chairman of the university’s biology department, said at a Sept. 28 groundbreaking that the new building will transform the educational experience for future students.

“Imagine what the students are going to be able to do with the facilities we are going to have,” Thomlinson said.

Cal State Dominguez Hills was No. 7 on the Business Journal’s list of universities ranked by enrollment, with almost 14,000 students in fall 2016. That was a 4 percent decline from a year earlier when the enrollment was 14,635, mostly due to a drop in the number of graduate students.