Ifland Engineers

1440 Multiversity

A Success Story

It is truly remarkable what can be accomplished in just four years…

In 2013 we were approached by The 1440 Foundation to assist their efforts in conducting due diligence for the potential purchase of the former campus of Bethany University.  Bethany had shuttered operations and the campus had been vacant for a couple of years.  Being aware we had provided engineering to Bethany over a 25 year span, the Foundation wanted a knowledgeable source of information about the campus, its infrastructure, design possibilities and constraints.

On a sunny morning, we stood in the middle of deserted Bethany Drive with Foundation co-founder, Scott Kriens, as he described his then fledgling vision for a campus nestled in the redwoods.

“Imagine none of these buildings were here and there was no road snaking its way through this valley and up and over that ridge.  What would this area have looked like prior to any development?  That’s what I want to be our starting point as that’s the direction I want us to go as we develop the campus plan; as if new buildings and roads were set in the middle of this beautiful redwood forest, portions of which we’ll restore as part of our reforestation plan.”

And so began a whirlwind journey like nothing we have experienced since our founding in 1962…

Driveway of Multiversity aveOur first task was re-imagining the alignment of Bethany Drive.  The existing roadway carved the campus into two halves through the middle valley of three in which the campus was situated.  It climbed steeply up and over a ridge with tight radius curves, making visibility and fire access less than ideal.

Multiversity property in constructionAbove the road sat four buildings while below, and immediately adjacent to, the road sat a partially constructed concrete and steel hulk of a building; Bethany’s failed attempt to reconstruct its Dining Hall following a fire that destroyed the original.  We had worked with Bethany on that project which included a partial re-route of Bethany Drive to move it south of the new building, consistent with a campus Master Plan that called for the realignment of Bethany Drive.

At first, Scott desired the road to be moved even further south and routed around the campus core altogether to remove vehicular traffic and noise from the flow of people moving through the campus.  Several iterations were developed with the goal of minimizing grading  and impacts to numerous trees but also reducing the slope of the road so that vehicles would not have to accelerate too much to climb the hill, thus creating more noise that could disrupt future 1440 Multiversity attendees. But the realization that the redwood forest was the perfect backdrop for a new Dining Hall with large picture windows and outdoor seating meant that building needed to be nestled into the tree line along the south edge of campus above Carbonera Creek.

So the alignment originally envisioned by Bethany University was, for the most part, adhered to.  But Scott asked the question, “Why make a road that goes up sharply, only to come back down (as it approaches Bethany Loop, a residential loop just beyond the campus core)?  Can’t we flatten it out some along with creating the pad for a new Dining Hall?”

south view of Multiversity buildingThe answer was “yes”, but not without significant challenges.  You see, Bethany Drive is a public road with underground utilities serving privately owned residences around Bethany Loop.  At all times, both access and utility services would have to be maintained during construction.  Shutting them down and demolishing the road and infrastructure was simply not an option.  So, one of the four buildings above the road, Swanson Hall, was demolished to make way for a temporary access road and utilities, the first of what would become dozens of applications to the City of Scotts Valley for the construction of 1440 Multiversity.

Once the temporary road and utilities were in place, the existing roadway and infrastructure was removed and the knoll graded down several feet to make way for the realigned Bethany Drive and future Dining Hall, ultimately named Kitchen Table.

view of Multiversity common areas

Shifting the road to the south opened up the campus core, paving the way for the construction of what will be the gathering place for 1440 attendees…the Common Grounds café, sun-drview of multiversity north sideenched patio, foot paths, seating areas, flowing waterfall and wooden pier over a gently rushing river utilizing rainwater harvested from the rooftops of nearby buildings along with recycled water brought to the site and stored in a 30,000 gallon tank buried alongside the river and undetectable to the casual observer.


multiversity bridgeBut moving Bethany Drive also meant having to extend further south and raise by a few feet a road that was formerly called Gaston Circle, to meet the new road alignment.  This was accomplished via a beautiful stone faced bridge over a pond at the base of the grotto river and is a focal point for visitors as they arrive on campus.  The extended road, now called New Bridge Way,road going through multiversity ave​​​​​​​ provides access to The Lodge, the administration hub of 1440, and Outlook, a primary classroom building.  Snaking its way up the valley, New Bridge Way wraps around The Farm, where classes in farming and food preparation are taught, before climbing up and over a significant valley ridge to a parking lot situated in the westernmost valley of the 1440 campus.  Following the alignment of a former foot trail from the Gaston Circle parking lot to Bethany's athletic field, the new ​​​​​​​road required the construction of a soil nail wall to achieve the minimum width required for fire access.

​​​​​​​another road view of multiversity aveBut perhaps the most challenging design aspect of the project was the conundrum of how to meet stormwater regulations on a site with very limited natural infiltration, situated on a series of valleys and ridges all sloping down toward Carbonera Creek, with virtually no flat areas in which to capture, treat and infiltrate storm runoff.  Solving this puzzle required every creative resource we could muster. 

Storm runoff is subject to a “treatment train” of filtration as it is captured and routed to two massive, underground gravel pits buried beneath campus improvements, completely out of sight.  Whereas storm runoff used to flow off campus and into Carbonera Creek unfiltered and undetained, it now is captured, treated, infiltrated into underlying soils to the extent possible before being released to the creek at various locations, thereby improving the quality of the runoff and reducing downstream flood impacts.  The development and construction of this system would not have been possible without the extensive collaboration with the project geologist, geotechnical engineer and contractor.  While “out of sight and out of mind” to most everyone, it is one of the project features of which we are most proud due to the incredible complexity of bringing it to fruition. 

Helping take 1440 Multiversity from a vision to reality in just four years has been an incredible journey; one filled with struggle, frustration, a test of resolve and perseverance, yet yielding a significant sense of accomplishment and pride.

We thank The 1440 Foundation for allowing us to be a part of it and look forward to seeing 1440 Multiversity thrive in its gorgeous forest setting.

panoramic shot of multiversity

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