UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Yoritada Wada Hall The new Yoritada Wada Hall brings an industrial esthetic to UC Berkeley's Unit 2 student housing complex. (Bonnie Azab Powell photo)

New residence halls, new students arrive for spring semester

In-suite lounge and dining area  Towle & Wada Halls: Loftlike living wows new students; slide show

– Two new high-rise residence halls and a belated welcome to some incoming freshmen mark the beginning of spring semester 2005 at the University of California, Berkeley.

The two new buildings, Katherine A. Towle Hall and Yoritada Wada Hall, join the existing Unit 2 residence hall complex and provide room for about 400 more students, allowing the campus to meet its obligation to provide housing to all freshmen.

Among the incoming freshmen are students who were initially told that, although they were accepted at UC Berkeley, they had to spend two years at a community college before arriving because of budget cuts. Approximately 270 students agreed to this program, called the UC Guaranteed Transfer Option program. Then in August 2004, they were informed that a new budget deal would give them the option of arriving on campus this January.

Of the 270 students, about 200 decided to start at UC Berkeley this semester. The others can still choose to attend in fall 2006 under the original agreement.

"We are delighted to have these students on our campus," said UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor of Admissions and Enrollment Richard Black. "We're confident that they are going to get a great start on their Berkeley education."

There are 977 new freshmen, including the Guaranteed Transfer Option students, at UC Berkeley this semester. Many of them have moved into Unit 2. The housing complex, which now has six residence halls, is located three blocks south of campus and bounded by College Avenue, Dwight Way and Bowditch and Haste streets.

Towle Hall (pronounced like "toll") is comprised of small suites for groups of two and three students, with room and board costing $1,084 a month for a student in the doubles, and $956 per person in the triples. The double rooms house 168 students, the triple rooms house 48 students.

The hall is named for Katherine Towle, a UC Berkeley alumna who was UC Berkeley's dean of students from 1962-1965. She served in the U.S. Marines before her hire at UC Berkeley, holding titles including director of women Marines. Following her retirement from military service in 1953, she was appointed UC Berkeley's associate dean of students and dean of women. After her subsequent years as dean, she was awarded emeritus status. Towle, who died in 1986, was strongly involved in student life issues.

The Yoritada Wada apartments are furnished and accommodate 134 students in the two-person apartments and 42 students in the three-person residences. Doubles are $598 a month, triples are $536. Meals are not included in the price.

The hall is named for Wada, a UC Berkeley alumnus who was a UC regent from 1977-1992. Wada served in the military during World War II, was executive director of the Buchanan Street YMCA in San Francisco from 1966 to 1992, and was chosen in 1978 by the San Francisco Examiner as one of the Bay Area's 10 outstanding citizens. He died in 1997.

The demolition of Unit 2's old central dining building -- today, Unit 2 residents are across the street from Crossroads Dining Commons -- has led to the development of a central patio area where students can gather. Beneath the commons area are academic support services, a computer lab, and more.

The Unit 2 halls will be full this semester. Two more new residence halls, in the Unit 1 complex, are scheduled to open in fall 2005.

A dedication ceremony for Towle and Wada halls is in the works for later this semester.