Summer on campus means construction crews are busy

Campus map

Click on this partial campus map to open the complete map in a larger format. (NewsCenter illustration by Melani King)

While the students are (mostly) away, the construction crews will play. Or dig, pave, jackhammer, weld and otherwise take advantage of the relative quiet to make improvements to the UC Berkeley campus.

Dozen of projects are underway, prompting questions like: What the heck are they doing over there? How long will this sidewalk be closed and how long will the noise last? How can I get from Bancroft to Lower Sproul, anyway?

The massive Lower Sproul renovation and construction of a new BAM/PFA museum and theater are the most visible of the projects. But a close look brings news of a new Rec Sports Fitness Center on the east side of campus, a realignment of the heavily traveled roadway in front of California Hall and plans for a new design innovation building on Northside.

To help people navigate the campus this summer, the NewsCenter offers a map that’s keyed to the list of projects that follows. Click on the map to open a full-size version.

Starting at the top, here’s the rundown. Except where noted, the work is intended to be completed before the fall semester starts:

The Big Four



Tangle of old rebar, piled outside Zellerbach Hall, is pretty much all that’s left of the old Eshleman Hall, part of the Lower Sproul renovation. (NewsCenter photos by Carol Ness)

1) Lower Sproul: Eshleman Hall is gone, demolished, kaput. The new Eshleman will begin to rise before the semester starts. Parts of the MLK Student Union are coming down, too, to make way for additions on the west and south sides. Before September, look for a long wood fence to go up diagonally across Lower Sproul Plaza, leaving just the areas in front of Cesar Chavez Student Center and Zellerbach Hall open. Another fence will close off the wide stairway down from Sproul Plaza to Lower Sproul during the semester; a trail of blue and gold bear paw prints painted on the pavement will blaze the way from Bancroft Way to Lower Sproul: across Sproul Plaza almost to Sather Gate, then left around the back of Cesar Chavez and through the breezeway to the plaza.

By the time the stairs close, the west end of Lower Sproul will have reopened, simplifying the eastward trek from the RSF. New permeable paving and a raingarden will slow and filter rain on its way to Strawberry Creek.  Full project information is posted on the Lower Sproul website. Estimated time of completion: Fall 2015.

1a) Walking in the area will be further complicated by three small projects underway at Zellerbach Hall. They should be done by the end of September.

2) BAM/PFA: The sawtooth roof from the old UC Printing plant on Oxford Street has been dismantled and carted off to be restored. (It will return later and form a prominent feature of the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.) Next up: digging down one story. Construction is expected to last through mid-2015. Sidewalks on all three sides of the project – Oxford, Addison and Center streets — will remain closed for the duration. Estimated opening of the museum: Early 2016. Full project information is posted on the BAM/PFA website.

3a,3b,3c) Units 1, 2 and 3:  The towers of all three dorm complexes on the south side of campus are undergoing seismic strengthening, with exterior steel being added and, in some places, new concrete walls. Work on Units 1 and 2 should be done by Move In Weekend (Aug. 24-25), but will extend into the semester for Unit 3.

4) Campbell Hall: Next up in the ongoing reconstruction of Campbell Hall: giant pre-cast concrete panels will be carted in on 80-foot trucks, requiring a second crane, this one posi

Path of blue and gold bear paws, painted on Sproul Plaza, blazes the trail from Bancroft Way to Lower Sproul, in preparation for the closing of the stairway.

Path of blue and gold bear paws, painted on Sproul Plaza, blazes the trail from Bancroft Way to Lower Sproul, in preparation for the closing of the stairway.

tioned on Oppenheimer Way. Estimated completion for the entire project: End of 2014.

Less visible but important

5) Memorial Stadium: Inside the newly renovated stadium, a new Rec Sports Fitness Center is under construction. It promises cardio and strength-training equipment for all RSF members. Estimated opening: Oct. 1. Also being built there is the Haas School of Business Innovation Lab, with classroom and breakout space. Target opening: Aug. 1.

6) International House: The main door is closed while accessibility is improved at  the entryway and front desk.

7) Calvin Lab: Renovations are wrapping up, and the new Simons Foundation Institute for the Theory of Computing is moving in. Landscaping will continue through the end of fall semester.

8) Wurster Hall: The College of Environmental Design is adding on to the fabrication shop to create space for new CAD/CAM digital fabrication equipment. Work will continue through Thanksgiving.

9) Walkway, plaza and lawn near Hertz, Morrison, Hargrove and Wurster: The whole area has been dug up for new telecommunications line. Landscapes will be restored.

10) Faculty Club: Multiple repairs and renovations are going on, including fixes to the siding, deck and historic windows. The fire alarm is being upgraded, too, as is the one in the Women’s Faculty Club.

11) Girton Hall: The child care center has closed (a new one is going up at Dwight and Telegraph, see #17), and utilities are being moved to clear the way for a proposed addition to the Haas School of Business.

Scaffolding at Gilman Hall

Scaffolding has been erected around Gilman Hall for installation of a new red-tile roof.

12a and 12b) Gilman Hall and Evans Hall: New roofs are on the way. Both projects will last into new semester.

13) South Drive at Birge Hall: You won’t see it when it’s done, but the huge steam vault that’s a hub of the campus’s underground heat and hot water system is being replaced. South Drive should reopen to vehicles soon, but work will continue into the semester.

14) Stanley Hall: An underground fuel tank is being replaced with a new above-ground tank.

15) California Hall: Sather Road, which runs in front of California Hall, has gotten a makeover, mostly to improve access by modifying its slope, along with a new sidewalk and a couple of new lights. Estimated completion time: This week.

16) Wheeler Hall: A ramp into a classroom is being built inside.

17) Dwight Way Early Childhood Education Center: Modular buildings for the new childcare center are being built offsite, and will be trucked in ready to be installed. Some children displaced by the closure of Girton Hall (see #11) will be able to go here. Estimated opening:  Summer 2014.


18) Jacobs Hall: A new building on Northside, next to Soda Hall, will house the new Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. An open house Aug. 15 will mark the launch of the project; work is expected to begin in spring 2014.

19) Tang Center parking lot: A new diving and aquatics center is planned for part of the lot on Bancroft Way just west of the Tang Center. Estimated start time: before the end of 2013.

20) Optometry Lane: A new sidewalk and access improvements are scheduled to start this fall.