Legislative Analyst's Office

Analysis of the 2001-02 Budget Bill

California Science Center (1100)

The 2001-02 Governor's Budget includes $11.1 million from the General Fund for the California Science Center for capital outlay. This amount would fund Phase II of the Science Center expansion project ($10.5 million) and minor capital outlay (projects which cost less than $400,000).

Phase II Schematic Plans Not Complete

We withhold recommendation on the $10.5 million requested for preliminary plans and working drawings for the Science Center Phase II project pending completion of schematic plans and associated cost estimates, and information from the Science Center assuring the availability of the substantial private donations necessary to undertake the project.

The Governor's budget includes a request for $10.5 million from the General Fund for preliminary plans and working drawings to design the Phase II expansion project for the Science Center. The Legislature appropriated $3.1 million in the 2000-01 Budget Act to develop schematic plans and associated cost estimates for this project. When the Legislature approved these funds, the project included a new educational learning center (100,000 square feet [sf]), office space (50,000 sf), and an expansion of the World of Life and Special Exhibit Gallery (30,000 sf). In addition, the estimated future cost was $110.5 million, of which the state's share was $24.4 million and private donations totaling $86.1 million.

When this Analysis was written, the administration had not submitted any additional information on the project. It is our understanding, however, that the schematic plans are scheduled to be completed in March 2001. Once these plans are submitted, the Legislature will have better information regarding the scope and costs for the project. In addition, the Science Center should provide information on the status of obtaining the significant amount of private donations the center committed to last year. The state should not proceed with multimillion dollar expenditures for design of this joint-funded facility without assurance that the private donations will be available.

Pending receipt of this information, we withhold recommendation on the $10.5 million request. Given the size and complexity of this project, it is not clear that the Legislature will have sufficient information to warrant appropriation of the $8.4 million requested for working drawings or if this work could even be undertaken in the budget year.

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