Threats to the BFS...
July, 2020...The colleges have still not announced permanent protection of the central 45 acre portion of the BFS, the Temporarily Restricted Property, which was promised to happen after the eastern 36 acres were sold to Pitzer, Scripps, and Harvey Mudd in 2015.
1985-1995...Various projects detrimental to the BFS were proposed:
- CUC developed blueprints for a Claremont School of Theology parking lot on the BFS.
- Widening of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden driveway onto BFS land was proposed.
- A day care center was proposed to be built on the southeastern corner of the BFS.
- BFS faculty were asked to choose which 10 acres to retain for ecological studies as the remaining land would be used for new colleges, a child care facility, and infrastructure.
1997-2001 — KGI...In spring of 1997, the Claremont Colleges voted to add a seventh college to the consortium, the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences (KGI) and proposed to site the new institute on the western 11.4 acres of the Bernard Field Station (BFS) in spite of overwhelming opposition by faculty and students and the existence of alternative sites. After a long political and legal struggle, CUC agreed to preserve approximately 45 acres of the BFS for 50 years in exchange for FBBFS withdrawing a CEQA lawsuit. The plan was not, however, ever resubmitted to the City, and KGI's new president, Sheldon Schuster, has stated that he has no plans to build on the BFS. [More on the KGI siting controversy]
Spring 2008 — CUC Central Facilities? School of Public Health?Robert Walton, CEO of the Claremont University Consortium (CUC), announced at an all-CUC meeting on February 19, 2008, that CUC plans to buy the western 11.4 acres of the Bernard Field Station from KGI and build a new CUC central facility parcel. The new facility would include the physical plant facility now located on First Street; the administrative, business, and personnel offices now located in the Pendleton Building on Eighth Street; off-site storage for the Claremont Colleges Libraries; and a parking lot or structure.
On March 25, 2008, Harvey Mudd President Maria Klawe and Scripps Interim President Fritz Weis sent e-mails to their faculty stating that CUC had decided that CUC has concluded that keeping their Central Facilities on First Street is the only financially viable option; i.e., the plans to place CUC Central Facilities on the KGI site have been dropped. Rumors abound, however, about the future of the KGI site, including whether it will be the site of a School of Public Health.
Fall 2008 — An HMC Parking Lot (!) and a School of Public Health?Harvey Mudd College is planning to buy the KGI property currently leased to the BFS in order to build a parking lot. HMC also plans to subdivide the property and sell half to Claremont Graduate University for their new School of Global and Community Health.
Spring 2010...The parking lot proposed by HMC for the western part of the BFS is no longer a problem as the City will reduce the required number of parking spaces if a college prohibits a class (freshman, sophomore) from having cars. However, HMC has stated that they intend to build on the land at some future date. In the meantime, the 11.4 acres has been divided into four parcels, two of which HMC will keep and two of which Claremont Graduate University will soon own. CGU plans are not known, but the parcels were recently adjusted to give CGU Foothill frontage which makes it more likely that they will try to move north onto that part of the BFS.
July 28, 2011...Claremont University Consortium sent out a press release stating that the three 12-acre parcels east of the Temporarily Restricted Property (TRP) would be sold. Pitzer will buy the one bordering the TRP which includes the Infirmary and the outdoor classroom. Pitzer plans to renovate the Infirmary for a new institute, and has said it plans to leave the rest of the area as natural habitat. Harvey Mudd and Scripps will buy the other two parts and have not expressed any intention of preserving any of the habitat. For more details, see our short explanation of the current situation.
Note that the planned buildout will reduce the size of the field station by about 38%. The entire 85-90 acre area between College and Mills has been in use continuously as a field station since it was first officially opened in 1980. In the press release the Colleges call the 40+ acre Temporarily Restricted Property the BFS. Preservation of the Pitzer-owned area would not increase the size of the area used as a field station, but would only increase the size of the protected part. Again, if CGU, HMC, and Scripps build on the parts they now or soon will own, the size of the field station will decrease by about 38%.
Note:During the KGI hearings, the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) was told by the City of Claremont that it would need to submit a Master Plan for all its holdings before any new development would be approved. CUC is presumably in the process of preparing this plan. Although it appears to include building on the eastern part of the BFS, as anticipated, this 'Master Plan' has still not been created and submitted.
November 11, 2015...Pitzer, Scripps, and Harvey Mudd Colleges each completed the purchase of 12 acres of the east field in June. There was no way to prevent this.
Pitzer has begun plans to renovate the Infirmary for the Robert Redford Conservancy and has restated its intention to leave the natural part of its area alone.
Scripps and Harvey Mudd have not given any indication of their plans. Claremont Graduate University is completing a 20 year master plan which does not include building on its part of the BFS.