Brawley campus STEM
A rendering of the STEM building at Brawley campus. Credit: San Diego State University

San Diego State University is included in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised state budget proposal, according to a campuswide email distributed Friday.

The university is identified as the planned recipient of $80 million in new funding for the SDSU Imperial Valley campus as part of the $301 billion proposed budget for total spending.

“We are dealing with the workforce in a way that I am really excited about — working with San Diego State University,” Newsom said during his address Friday. “They are looking at investing in a center to develop a pathway for locals. I love this. So often, when the next gold rush comes in, it goes to the pockets of fancy folks and doesn’t go back to the community. We are trying to avoid that.”

The proposal, which now goes before the Legislature, supports the university’s plan to drive educational and economic opportunities, as aligned with the state and Imperial County’s plan for “Lithium Valley.” This plan will build a lithium infrastructure to expand clean energy, reach the state’s net-zero emissions goals, create new jobs and benefit both Imperial Valley and the state, according to SDSU President Adela de la Torre.

De la Torre said the university has already made a significant investment toward redeveloping SDSU Imperial Valley’s existing Brawley campus to support STEM labs, classrooms for new nursing programs, as well as expanded public and environmental health programs. Both sectors are in incredibly high demand in Imperial Valley, which was one of the hardest-hit regions during the pandemic, according to the email.

“I am deeply appreciative of Gov. Newsom for his support of our vision to create historic levels of educational and economic benefits for Imperial County, and for our state,” de la Torre wrote. “I also appreciate Newsom’s acknowledgment that SDSU and SDSU Imperial Valley are best positioned to serve the needs of the students and families of the Valley, and that our faculty have the expertise to attract leading industry and agency partners around alternative energy, environmental sustainability, chemical and manufacturing engineering, and public health.”

Newsom’s announcement Friday will allow for a new 65,000-square-foot Innovation Campus on the SDSU Imperial Valley Brawley site to house science, technology, chemistry, engineering and mathematics programming. The current plan, according to de la Torre, calls for the development of: 

  • 25,000-square-feet to be dedicated to labs and core facilities with major instruments, including research space to collaborate with public and private partners.
  • 20,000-square-feet of STEM-focused classroom and teaching laboratory spaces. 
  • 10,000-square-feet of office space.
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