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$68 Million Renovation of Hearst Mining Building Launched July 9

posted July 15, 1998

Chancellor Berdahl, along with administrators, faculty, alumni, students, staff and donors -- nearly 300 people in all -- gathered at the Hearst Memorial Mining Building last Thursday afternoon to launch its $68 million renovation project.

The first campus building designed by architect John Galen Howard, Hearst Memorial Mining is home to the Department of Materials Science and Mineral Engineering, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"Ninety-six years ago, on a rainy November day, the cornerstone was laid," said College of Engineering Dean Paul Gray during his welcoming comments. Holding up the silver trowel used to lay the cornerstone, he said, "This was the largest and best-equipped mining engineering building in the world at that time."

With $34 million from the state of California and the same amount being raised in private support, the renovation and seismic improvements will preserve the building's architectural beauty while outfitting it for cutting-edge research in advanced new materials for medicine, microelectronics, transportation, construction, and other endeavors.

Materials Science Professor Ronald Gronsky and recent graduate Bella German Bloom were among the five speakers who lauded the building and the education and research it has furthered. "I would always brag to my friends and family that this was my building," Bloom said with a smile. "The prettiest building on campus. The completion of this project will be an excellent gift to the students," she said.

A resolution from the California Legislature was read commending the university and celebrating the renovation project.

William Floyd, Jr., general chair of the Berkeley Engineering Fund, talked about the building's elegant architecture and the value of the education gained in its labs. Addressing the donors directly, he said, "Thank you for your wisdom in making such an investment."

Berdahl declared the day "one to take joy in." After commenting on the historic significance of the building and its future potential, Berdahl joined Gray in opening the building's 12-foot high oak doors to signify the official launch of the renovation project.

Out through the massive doorway marched the Straw Hat Band -- tuba, drum, trombones, clarinets, and more -- playing "Fight for California."

The band continued playing at the reception that followed.

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