After operating in a temporary, dilapidated storefront for 14 years, UC Santa Barbara’s new Associate Student Bike Shop broke ground near parking lot 15 on February 17. The building is scheduled to open in March or April 2023.
Gianna Pineda, a fourth-year psychology, brain science, and communication student, is the principal mechanics student at the Associated Students (AS) Bike Shop.
“It’s a slightly dangerous shack,” Pineda said of the existing bike shop structure. “It’s super rickety, very small.”
Pineda said the new facility is a necessary improvement to improve store operations and its ability to serve the student body.
“We needed a space where we could expand our operations and therefore be able to support more students,” she said.
According to bike shop coordinator Adam Jahnke, the bike shop built the current structure using materials from a construction kit the students purchased in 2008 from Sears. From now on, the new Bike Shop will take a more professional approach. Its design come by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK), while Cal-City Construction (CCC) will construct the building itself.
The Bike Shop selected JFAK in December 2019 after UCSB’s design review board sent out a request for bids to architects, Jahnke said. Five or six companies responded and made presentations.
“Ultimately, JFAK spoke a lot about a student-centric experience and understanding that this store is built with student funds, and students need to be the central voice in decision-making here,” said Jahnke.
He said JFAK’s past experience designing the UC Los Angeles bike shop further boosted his confidence that the company could work well with university administrators and students.
Historically, the Bike Shop operated from below-average facilities, Jahnke said. The original building of the Bike Shop — founded in 1975 — consisted of corrugated steel shipping containers. The current building, located in parking lot 29, replaced this structure and was service since 2008.
“All these years it was understood that this space, this footprint that we occupy next to the parking lot, is temporary – this site was always intended for development,” he said. “So we’ve always had our building here, more or less, on borrowed time.”
A serious effort to build a proper storefront, however, began in mid-2017.
“I had quite a remarkable and exemplary staff [that] I got really excited about doing some of the initial ground and administrative work to start the conversation about what it would take to get a brand new building,” Jahnke said.
The new building will address the most basic concerns about the current bike store by addressing its security issues and increasing the store’s floor space from 1,500 square feet to 2,665 square feet, according to Pineda and Jahnke.
Pineda said she hopes the new building will allow the Bike Shop to hire more staff and hold educational nights on bike repair, while Jahnke said he hopes the new building will help increase the rate and quantity of repairs they perform and better manage queues. The new building will also improve the store’s offerings, including a new bike test track – a replacement for testing a bike around a busy parking lot – and a DIY mechanic stand for students to self-repair the bikes, Pineda said.
One feature Pineda said she’s particularly looking forward to is a back patio lounge that employees can enjoy during their work breaks.
“You can get out there and not be bogged down with a bunch of questions from students, and you can just enjoy your break,” she said. “At the moment we don’t have that space in the store – we have our staff lounge area right next to our inventory, so it’s very cramped, and the other mechanics are always asking you questions. .”
Jahnke said the Bike Shop is looking to offer more items for sale in the new building, from T-shirts to the bikes themselves.
“[We’ll] hopefully we can recycle abandoned bikes in the community and then refurbish and resell them,” he said.
Eventually, the Bike Shop could branch out into general transportation-related merchandise and sell items like skateboards and surfboards, he added.
Land next to Parking Lot 15 and the UCSB Visitor Center will serve as the foundation for the new building. The Bike Shop chose this location from 15 applicants for its high visibility when driving on campus, proximity to bike paths and the bus loop, space to play with the shape of the building, and an opportunity for AS d interact with prospective students, Jahnke said. .
But one location that wasn’t an option was the Bike Shop’s current location, Jahnke said.
“We inquired about this, and the university – they already have plans for this land,” Jahnke said. “When that time comes, this building will be demolished. This parking lot will be razed and there will be another entity here. When this happens, anyone can guess.
The total cost of the project is $5,028,095, according to Jahnke. The Bike Shop paid $3.8 million of that bill using funds that have accrued since 2006 from a student lockout fee allocated specifically for a new building. The remaining funds came from AS reserve funding, which Jahnke said the Bike Shop will repay over time with future revenue from their lockout fees — a fee the student body pays each year as part of their tuition fees. schooling and must vote to reaffirm it every two years.
Although Jahnke acknowledged that construction costs had “tripled or quadrupled” due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated supply chain disruptions, he said the Bike Shop did not want to risk any further delays. .
“We have to realize this building,” Jahnke said. “Given this pandemic which only happens once in a century, we simply don’t know what the future holds. And so, while we have the opportunity to do so now, it is best that we do with these funds what we said we would do with them in 2006.”
According to Jahnke, CCC is expected to complete construction on December 8. Then the Bike Shop will move its existing equipment to the new location and purchase new items to utilize the increased space.
Although the Bike Shop hopes to open in its new location by April 2023, those plans could be hampered by prolonged construction.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the construction lasted, to some extent, until 2023,” Jahnke said. “And that’s just because COVID, as some or all may know, has significantly disrupted supply chain availability.”
Jahnke said he hopes the new Bike Shop will help the future of environmental and nonprofit transportation organizations.
“This shop, since its inception in the 70s, was such a radical reflection on this community-driven perspective of transport repair,” he said. “It’s been the last 10 or 15 years that the model pioneered and implemented by AS has been replicated across the United States through other nonprofit and DIY bike spaces.”
“I hope this new space truly lives up to its legend and its mantle,” Jahnke continued. “Put people first and bring ideas about climate change, transportation, repair and mobility to the forefront of the experience available to all students here.”