Construction: Seismic upgrading, building renovations
reach all-time peak
Diane Ainsworth, Public Affairs
to be a little dusty and noisy this year with campus construction
at an all-time high. Approximately $235 million worth of building
renovations, seismic upgrading, new facilities, walkways, bike
paths and landscaping projects will be under way, keeping everyone
on their toes.
Hall is all wrapped up in scaffolding as part of a seismic
retrofit project. Scenes like this are more likely on campus
in the next few years as a major infrastructure development
effort gets under way. (Peg Skorpinski photo)
facelift, which promises to restore and upgrade the aging campus,
is in full swing. About 1 million square feet of space will
be under construction at the beginning of the fall semester,
much of it involving seismic retrofitting and state-of-the-art
techniques to preserve historic buildings such as the Hearst
Memorial Mining Building.
including the Dwinelle Film Studies Theater, Doe Library, Edwards
Stadium, Zellerbach Hall, McCone Hall, Haas Pavilion and the
Hearst Field Annex temporary relocation quarters - all complex
tasks to tackle with minimal disruption - were completed in
the past year. All were accomplished under the most difficult
of circumstances, in the midst of approximately 44,000 daily
campus users, 6,000 cars, circuitous detours, public events
and constant visitor tours.
capital budget - currently about $515 million in public and
private funding - is making all of this possible. The flagship
campus of the UC system, the oldest and one of the smallest
in total acreage, now expects about 900 construction workers
on campus each day by early 2001.
is critical to sustaining the preeminence of our faculty and
supporting the extraordinary work they do as we educate the
very best students of each generation," said Chancellor Robert
Berdahl. "The campus is aging, and it is vul-nerable to serious
damage from an earthquake. Those reasons alone are driving us
to improve the usefulness of our laboratories, upgrade our classrooms
and address the very real issue of seismic safety."
is one of Berkeley's top priorities, since the campus sits on
top of the Hayward fault. But a backlog of deferred maintenance
projects, aimed at modernizing outdated buildings and adding
the necessary infrastructure - whether it be a new underground
fiber optic cable system for voice, data and video communication
or upgrading the university's steam and water distribution systems
- is also a priority.
the rare opportunity right now to replace and renew major facilities
and to build new structures that will affect the life of the
campus over the next 100 years," said Edward Denton, vice chancellor
of capital projects. "Our office is putting the tools in place
to ensure that all of our projects meet quality criteria that
will contribute to Berkeley's stature as a world-class center
for higher education."
On the south
side of campus, long known to be one of the most densely populated
areas west of the Mississippi, attention to urban design and
the unique needs of the area promise to transform a neighborhood
of 8,000 students. A thorough planning process with the city
of Berkeley, including extensive discussion with the community,
is about to come to fruition with the first of several new student
residences and other amenities, Denton said.
for the first phase of new apartment-style housing for 113 upper-division
students, to be built at College and Durant avenues, would begin
in June 2001, following approval by the UC Regents. Subsequent
projects on Channing Way and within Units 1 and 2 include housing
for an additional 725 students. A new parking structure to replace
a seismically unsafe one, which was the campus's biggest parking
structure until it was torn down in 1993, is planned for 2005-6,
with an innovatively designed playing field on top to give students
recreational facilities and open space.
renovations on campus are moving forward as well. Refurbishing
of the venerable Hearst Memorial Mining Building, considered
the crown jewel of the Berkeley campus, represents a marvel
of engineering wizardry and technological craftsmanship. The
preservation project melds a bold approach to seismic improvement
with historic design considerations: the building is being freed
from its foundations and placed on a system of isolators so
that it will move horizontally, as a whole, during an earthquake.
Management Agency funding has allowed the university to begin
seismic overhauls of four major academic buildings - Barrows,
Hildebrand and Latimer Halls and Silver Lab. Two of them - Silver
Lab and Barrows Hall - are under construction, with Latimer
and Hildebrand to follow in the next several months.
the 1997 SAFER (Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement
and Renewal) program has identified the need for more than $1
billion for seismic upgrading over the next 20 years. That program
will keep a variety of construction projects going year-round.
is guided by a Long Range Development Plan, updated every 10
to 15 years, which sets out the proposed physical development
of the campus, including its off-campus properties.
to Principal Planner Jennifer Lawrence, an update to the plan,
expected to be completed in the winter of 2002, will provide
the campus and community with a broad vision of the total amount
and general nature of development expected to take place during
the planning horizon of 2005-15. The plan will also provide
an understanding of the environmental impacts associated with
around, long-range physical planning will be guided by a programmatic
vision for the future and set forth in a new overall strategic
blueprint known as the New Century Plan.
expands upon the opportunity presented by our seismic safety
program to anticipate future academic needs, address the quality
of student life, and improve access between the campus and the
community," she said. "Not since 1898, when Berkeley's great
benefactor, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, sponsored the international
competition to guide campus growth, have we undertaken an integrated
effort of this magnitude."
safety work progresses, planners have recognized that the campus
can use its funds more efficiently by addressing the need for
temporary space in the aggregate. While buildings are refurbished
and laboratories reconfigured for highly specialized research,
staff, faculty and students are using the new Hearst Field Annex.
A second interim relocation center, called Seismic Replacement
Building 1, located on the south end of the Oxford Tract, is
slated for 2001, pending Regents' approval.
for creativity and flexibility in the use of space is an ongoing
challenge," Denton said. "We've created a lot of strategies
for managing building closures, interim relocation requirements,
traffic and accessibility during periods of heavy construction.
$42 million in FEMA grants for seismic retrofitting, built several
new scientific laboratories, replaced 50-year-old graduate student
housing with new apartments and refurbished many of Berkeley's
architectural treasures," he said. "We do a lot extremely well,
but we can't rest on our laurels. There's a lot that still needs
to be done to meet the needs of the next century."
the Foundations of Excellence home
Special Issue, Fall 2000