UC Berkeley Web Feature
Judge hears challenge to EIR and Student-Athlete Center; ruling to be issued by Monday
BERKELEY – After more than five hours of testimony today (Tuesday, Jan. 23), an Alameda County Superior Court judge said she will issue a ruling by next Monday on a request for a preliminary injunction to halt construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center, a key element in UC Berkeley's plans to enhance the safety of those who currently work and train in California Memorial Stadium.
An attorney representing the University of California, Berkeley, told Judge Barbara Miller that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects fully complies with the California Environmental Quality Act, and that geotechnical studies showed that a building could safely be built on the site proposed for the student-athlete center.
Attorneys for three plaintiffs, including the city of Berkeley, were seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the construction of the proposed $125 million training center near the stadium. They contended that the EIR was flawed and said it would not be seismically safe to build the proposed student center so close to an active earthquake fault.
City officials and stadium neighbors, the latter represented by the Panoramic Hill Association, said outside the Hayward courtroom that the university should first strengthen the stadium, which is bisected by the Hayward Fault, and make it more seismically safe before building the student training center.
Campus officials responded that the state will not fund seismic improvements at the stadium and that there are no private funds to do so. However, by building the new student training center with donor funds, the campus can address within two years the most serious threat to life safety at the stadium: the well-being of university employees and student athletes who occupy it every day. They noted that the city and the neighbors fail to acknowledge that without the new center, the status quo will prevail.