A new hub for student life at UC Berkeley is emerging. Construction progressed rapidly this summer on the Lower Sproul redevelopment project. We went along on a hardhat tour of the site, poked around in the concrete and rebar skeletons of new spaces under construction and brought back photos:
The $223 million project includes the construction of a new Eshleman Hall on the site of the old one, along Bancroft Way, plus the overhaul and renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.
Lower Sproul Plaza also gets a new surface, disabled access in the area is being improved and new landscape is going in. The student-services-centered complex is designed to be light, airy and inviting, with lounges, cafes, the bookstore, a pub, a multicultural center, meeting and performances spaces and the offices of UC Berkeley’s Public Service Center, the Graduate Assembly and ASUC Senate, among other organizations and services.
The project is financed in large part by the BEARS fee initiative of 2010, when students voted to impose on themselves an escalating fee, starting with $35 a semester in 2011. The fund has already contributed to the relocation of the Career Center and to renovation of historic Anthony Hall, home of the Graduate Assembly and Alumnae Hall, which is serving as ASUC Senate headquarters during construction.
The two main buildings defining the east and south sides of the space, Eshleman and the Student Union, will be connected by a bridge and staircases, and a wide passageway will lead through the ground floor of Eshleman from Bancroft Way to Lower Sproul Plaza. The new stairway and ramp between upper and Lower Sproul plazas is scheduled to open in January 2015. The entire project is scheduled for completion in fall 2015.
For more on the project visit lowersproul.berkeley.edu