Berkeleyan Masthead HomeSearchArchive

This Week's Stories

Berkeley Surpasses $1 Billion Mark in Fundraising Campaign

State-of-the-Art Hazardous Materials Facility Opens

Scholars Discuss Post-Affirmative Action Strategies at Day-Long Conference

Graduate Student Instructors to Vote on Collective Bargaining

Students Helping Students Ace the SAT

Cal Day '99 Wrap-Up

Jump and Jive at Giant Jazz Jam

Educational Initiatives Award And Presidential Chair

Photo: April Showers Bring Steel Towers

Chancellor's Award Honors Campus Volunteerism

Photo: East Meets West

Gray Davis Headlines 131st Charter Day Celebration

Regular Features




Campus Authors


Campus Calendar




News Briefs


Staff Enrichment


State-of-the-Art Hazardous Materials Facility Opens

By Julia Sommer, Public Affairs
Posted April 21, 1999

Photo of planners

Pat Goff, foreground, shows off lab facilities at the new Hazardous Materials Facility. From left, Mark Freiberg, Susan Spencer and Horace Mitchell. Peg Skorpinski photo

Tucked between Hellman tennis courts and Evans baseball diamond, where Callahan Hall used to be, sits the new state-of-the-art Hazardous Materials Facility (HMF), which opened April 16.

Cutting the ribbon -- or in this case, the yellow caution tape -- were Patrick Goff, manager of the Hazardous Materials Management Team; Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor - business and administrative services; and Susan Spencer, director of Environment, Health & Safety, under whose aegis the $10 million facility falls.

Replacing the old and inadequate [Strawberry] Canyon Chemical Facility, HMF (yet another campus acronym) will be used primarily for processing and packaging campus chemical and radioactive waste that will then be sent off-site for treatment, storage and disposal.

The canyon facility will be turned into a UC Botanical Garden center for research and training in plant population biology.

At the HMF christening ceremony, Goff told of the arduous, 10-year journey from proposal to finished building. Among the hurdles: passionate neighborhood resistance to an enlarged Strawberry Canyon facility, university budget cuts and foul weather.

"Construction began with El Niño and ended with la Niña," said Goff.

In between, rose a two-story, 23,000-square-foot building structurally superior to any other on campus. Designed to maintain operations after "the worst credible earthquake," it boasts emergency back-up power, a 15,000-gallon underground tank, filtered ventilation and labs for analysis -- "all the bells and whistles," as Goff put it.

All operations will be performed indoors and chemical reuse areas will minimize waste.

At the opening ceremony, Mitchell announced that Spencer is leaving for a year to serve on the UN Compensation Commission in Geneva assessing environmental damage caused by the Gulf War. In her absence, Mark Freiberg will be acting director of EH&S.



April 21 - 27, 1999 (Volume 27, Number 31)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the
Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail