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Prop 1A's Passage Brings New Hope for Old Buildings

by Jacqueline Frost, Public Affairs
posted November 11, 1998

In a stunning triumph for public education, voters on Nov. 3 overwhelmingly approved the largest school construction bond in state history -- $6.2 billion to rebuild and expand campuses from elementary schools to universities.

The measure won by 62.4 percent, passing in every county with a University of California campus.

"This is a major breakthrough for UC," said University of California President Richard C. Atkinson. "The passage of this bond measure is a strong endorsement for education from California's voters. The university has been counting on the funding from this measure because most of our facilities projects planned for the coming years depend upon it."

The bond measure includes $2.5 billion for public higher education facilities, an amount to be shared equally by UC, the California State University system and the California Community Colleges over a four-year period.

In 1998-99 alone, Proposition 1A will fund 19 UC facilities projects on all nine of the university's campuses.

Berkeley will use its share of the bond -- more than $75 million -- to make the campus a safer place in an earthquake.

"What is truly satisfying and encouraging about the passage of Prop 1A is that it represents the State's real commitment to upgrading public school facilities at UC as well as K-12," said Michele Barer-Moskovitz, campus government affairs analyst.

A recent study found that nearly a third of the buildings on campus would present a threat to life safety if a major earthquake occurred on the Hayward Fault, which runs through the heart of campus.

Le Conte Hall, a Department of Physics site of the world's first atom smasher and former home to six Nobel physicists, will receive the largest share of the campus's bond proceeds. Built in 1923, the building houses a large lecture hall and many teaching and research labs.

On the critical list at Berkeley are several buildings including: Wurster Hall, which houses the College of Environmental Design; Barker Hall, with its numerous cell and molecular biology labs; and the Archaeological Research Facility.

Berkeley has more older buildings than any of the other UC campuses.


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