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New AVC for Capital Projects Lays Foundation

Trigg Developing Systems to Streamline $2 Billion of Work Over Next 15 Years

Posted November 17, 1999

As the associate vice chancellor for capital projects, one might think Langston Trigg's only concern is with constructing and renovating buildings on campus. But preserving open space on Berkeley's scenic 1,232 acres is equally important, he says.

"When I was an architecture student here in the early 1970s and would get stressed over my studies, I often went to sit by Strawberry Creek to relax and collect my thoughts," said Trigg. "As AVC, one of my main goals is to maintain and improve both the natural and built environments of campus."

Just four months on the job, Trigg -- under the auspices of Vice Chancellor for Capital Projects Ed Denton -- has taken on the Herculean task of planning and managing an estimated $1.5 to $2 billion worth of work on the campus over the next 10 to 15 years.

About half the work involves seismic upgrading, while the other half involves replacement of buildings. Approximately two-thirds of the buildings on campus will be affected in one way or the other, he said.

"We are the oldest campus in the system, and our buildings are starting to show their age," he said. "But particularly vulnerable are those concrete structures built in the 1960s, because the standards used to build them have changed."

His challenge is to create a cohesive and streamlined process that will ensure this massive undertaking is done efficiently, in a timely fashion and close to budget.

To accomplish this, Trigg is first implementing a comprehensive support structure for his own 90-person shop, which includes project managers and inspectors as well as accounting, administrative, contract and communications staff.

"Right now, we have several unclear processes, insufficient support and obsolete equipment," said Trigg, whose position, formerly held by Leroy Bean, sat empty for more than a year before he took the job. "We need to give our staff the tools and support they need to do their jobs effectively."

The first step in this effort is moving the Capital Projects office closer to campus. In mid-December it will relocate from 2000 Carleton St. to 1939 University Ave. Once there, it will receive upgraded hardware and software that reflect the latest in planning, design and construction technology.

"We will begin using a new project management software program called PRISM," said Trigg. "This will improve the way we track and manage projects."

A revamped project approval process is also in the works, he said. The new system will better monitor the way projects are started, developed, tracked and closed out as well as eliminate the duplication of various committees that are involved in construction planning.

"We want to get a set of rules and procedures on the table for everyone to understand," said Trigg. "Having a clear, concise process will help us avoid some of the mistakes that have been made in the past."

Those "problems" involved such projects as Dwinelle and McCone Halls, which took longer than anticipated, ran over budget and made working conditions for employees there nearly intolerable. However, Trigg is quick to add that the "vast majority of projects have been done on time and on budget," a message that doesn't always reach those in the campus community, he said.

But as mentioned before, Trigg must focus on more than just construction and renovation of buildings. Attention must also be paid to Berkeley's 'negative' space as well, he said. This includes maintaining landscaping, improving lighting, incorporating signage, making bike and pedestrian paths safer and preventing erosion along the banks of his beloved Strawberry Creek.

"This is an very important time for the campus," said Trigg. "This work is going to leave a mark on the campus for generations to come.

"When my job is done here," Trigg said, "I will take great pleasure in knowing that I had a little something to do with the continuation and development of such a beautiful campus."



November 17 - 23, 1999 (Volume 28, Number 15)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the
Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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