The Building Boom

January Finds Six Major Campus Construction Projects Under Way

by Julia Sommer

Jeff Gee's 24 project managers are juggling about 200 construction projects on campus. Here's a progress report on some of the major ones, in alphabetical order.

1. Doe Library: The Step II project-seismic reinforcement of the former stack area-should be finished by the end of February. Use for the resulting windowless, 70-foot-high atrium has yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Step III-reinforcement of the north wing-is cranking up, resulting in the temporary closure of Morrison Reading Room and the Main North Reading Room. This step should be completed in a year.

2. Dwinelle Addition: "We thought this would be a hellish experience, and it has been," says Gee. "It's extremely difficult to do this type of project in an occupied building. The campus just does not have enough space to temporarily house occupants when we have major building projects. Faculty and staff in Dwinelle have suffered through noise, no heat and rain damage, but the space was desperately needed for the humanities. This will most likely be the last state-funded new space on the Berkeley campus for a long time."

The two new top floors are occupied and upgrades in the old part of the building (painting, new data and electric outlets, fire alarm and sprinklers) should be finished by the end of February. There will be a formal opening of the new space some time in the spring. Price tag: $12 million.

3. Edwards Stadium: The much-needed renovation of this historic site of track and field events is scheduled to begin in May and should be completed by December. The $3 million project will reconfigure the track so that the infield can be used for soccer. Additional improvements include lighting for evening use.

4. Environmental Health and Safety Building: Going in where ROTC's Callaghan Hall used to be, this $9.6 million project replaces the Strawberry Canyon chemical facility. Scheduled for completion in fall '98, it will be the collection point for campus chemical waste, which will be packaged there and shipped to disposal sites. ROTC has been relocated to Hearst Gym.

5. Haas Pavilion: "It will get messier before it gets better," says Gee. "Old Harmon is being deconstructed, but we are preserving the historic entries of the building. With demolition well underway, it's a shocking and exciting experience."

Deconstruction should be finished by the end of March, foundation work has begun, and steel is being fabricated in Oklahoma City. Things will get really interesting this summer, when 10 200-foot steel roof super-trusses are built on site and put in place by a huge crane.

Completion date for the $48 million project is spring '99. The original price tag of $40 million has gone up, says Gee, mainly because subcontractors are in such high demand in the Bay Area-wide building boom.

6. Hearst Memorial Mining Building: Second only to the Valley Life Sciences Building in cost and scope, the $67 million seismic reinforcement and renovation of historic Hearst Mining (built in 1907) will commence n July and should be finished by August 2000. Building occupants will be housed in O'Brien, Evans and Davis halls during construction.

As in the Oakland and San Francisco city hall retrofits, the entire building will be placed on base isolators designed to act as giant shock absorbers during an earthquake-a first for the campus.

"Jacking up the whole building will be a major enterprise," says Gee. "We'll preserve the historic character of the building and restore many of its original characteristics, such as the light wells that were filled in after World War II."

The project will provide new classrooms, faculty offices and labs for the Department of Materials Science and Mineral Engineering. Asbestos abatement should begin in March and excavation this summer. "During construction, the entire northeast portion of campus will be impacted," says Gee.

7. McCone Hall "Construction is inherently noisy, dirty and disruptive," says Gee. "Due to the lack of surge space on campus, we are often challenged to carry out construction while a building is partially occupied. This is the case with McCone Hall."

Seismic reinforcement and renovation started this summer and is scheduled for completion in January '99. (This project was started in 1993 but abandoned in 1994 due to design problems. New architects and engineers have been hired.)

Most of the occupants of the first three floors have been moved out, but the third through fifth floors are still occupied. The Earth Sciences Library has been relocated to the Wellman trailers.

The $6 million seismic retrofit is being funded by the state, while the $9 million renovation is primarily a gift from the McCone Foundation.

8. Memorial Glade Phase I -- the lawn north of Doe Library-should be completed by the end of this month. Phase II-the Memorial Fountain just east of Moffitt Library-should be completed by the end of March. This $785,000 project is a gift of the War Classes of 1945-47.

"It's going to be pretty spectacular," says Gee. "We've kept as much open space as possible, while respecting the donors' wishes for 'outdoor rooms' defined by oak, magnolia and redwood trees. Keeping everybody involved in this project happy has been challenging."

University Village During the first phase of this project, Housing and Dining Services will replace 390 apartments for graduate students and their families built in Albany during World War II as temporary housing for shipyard workers. The more than 900 existing apartments "are all well past their useful life," says Gee.

The $55 million project will begin in June and will take about two years. J. R. Roberts construction company of Sacramento, working with the architectural team of Fisher-Friedman of San Francisco and Sam Davis, former chair of the Architecture Department, were recently chosen to design and build the two- and three-bedroom apartments. Remaining apartments will be replaced in an as-yet unfunded and unscheduled Phase II. (For more on this project, see Jan. 14 Berkeleyan.)


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