Bob Dunning: ‘Hornet Research Hive’ probably wouldn’t work

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

‘Hornet Research Hive’ probably wouldn’t work

By Bob Dunning

Every time I see the words “Aggie Research Campus” I assume it has something to do with UC Davis. After all, the very word “Aggie” tends to conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings of fondness for most of us who love living in this extra special college town. However, the Aggie Research Campus, still only in the planning stages, has nothing to do with the University of California at Davis or Bossy Cow Cow or the four-time Big West champion Aggie women’s basketball team. Even more confounding to Aggie lovers, the front-page headline in a recent edition of the Davis Enterprise said “Debate kicks off on ARC proposal.” Yes, even the initials for this proposed project conjure up the UC Davis recreational facility known as The ARC, not to be confused with American River College or the Association of Retired Carpenters. “A proposed innovation center and housing development that would bring 2.64 million square feet of office and research space and 850 housing units to 200 acres of land east of Mace Boulevard — north of I-80 — could go before Davis voters as soon as November,” said the opening paragraph of the story beneath Anne Ternus-Bellamy’s byline.“But before citizens can weigh in under a Measure R vote, the City Council must vote to place the Aggie Research Campus plan on the ballot, and must do so by July in order to meet the November ballot timeline.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in addition to our first-ever district election for City Council, plus a presidential showdown, we’ll get to vote on a project that has more square feet than I can get my arms around.That is, if the coronavirus doesn’t cancel the election altogether, heaven forbid. I mean, how big, really, is 2.64 million square feet compared to the size of the average East Davis starter home? Which got me to thinking once again about the UC Davis campus and specifically the football stadium the Cal Aggies call home. A football field runs 360 feet long from goal post to goal post and 160 feet wide from sideline to sideline. Multiply those two numbers together and you get 57,600 square feet. No wonder there’s room for 22 players and half a dozen officials running around on the green grass at the same time. Only it’s actually fake grass at an agricultural campus, but that’s another story for another time. Armed with all these facts and figures, I dropped in on the Department of Higher Math at UC Davis to ask the folks with those magic initials “Ph.D.” behind their names how many 57,600 square foot football fields would fit into 2.64 million square feet of office and research space. The answer was 45.8333333333333333333333333. They told me the threes were pretty much endless, but at that point I was already sitting down and requesting a tall glass of water and a cold towel for my forehead.

Perhaps, if the voters approve this plan, we could use some of those 2.64 million square feet to carve out an indoor football facility named Aggie Research Stadium where the Aggie football team could play its home games without worrying about tornadoes touching down in the middle of the game. I may have to wait until the first week of November, but I’d certainly vote for that plan. — Reach Bob Dunning at

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