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Working toward solutions to the student housing crunch

By Jacki Bernier, Capital Projects

Renewing the Foundations of Excellence

Housing that is close to campus is a key demand of students at UC Berkeley. And with that in mind, the campus has several plans it is considering to meet the needs.

The most immediate proposals are for the Southside area, which just went through a joint university/city of Berkeley study to guide future plans in the area. Capital Projects is working with Residential and Student Services Programs to implement what it is calling the Underhill Area Projects, which will include the replacement of the Units 1 and 2 Dining Commons with a new central facility; the replacement of the Underhill Parking Structure; the replacement of the athletic field on top of the parking structure; and the construction of up to 840 new student beds in apartment and suite-style housing.

The four housing projects now proposed are:

  • College-Durant Apartments - This first project would provide 113 single bedrooms in a mix of two-to-six bedroom apartments on the corner of College and Durant avenues. Each apartment would include one or two bathrooms, a kitchen and living/dining room. This four-story housing facility is designed with an interior courtyard, a recreation room, study lounges, laundry facilities and bicycle parking. Three apartments and the resident adviser's unit will be fully accessible for disabled students. Pending final approvals, the housing is expected to open for fall semester 2002.
  • Units 1 and 2 Suites - Upon completion of the proposed new central dining facility, the campus plans to demolish two seismically poor dining facilities at Units 1 and 2 and build landscaped interior courtyards. New housing planned in the Unit 1 and 2 complexes in buildings along Durant Avenue, Channing Way and Haste Street would provide 520 beds in suite configurations that will have both single-and double-occupancy bedrooms. Each suite would have its own living/common area and bathroom(s), with residents taking meals at the proposed new Dining Commons across the street, along with the other Unit 1 and 2 residents. Construction timing depends on the completion of the new central dining facility and Board of Regents approval. Planning for Unit 1 will soon be under way. The anticipated completion date for the Unit 1 suites is August 2003; for Unit 2, August 2005.
  • Channing-Bowditch Apartments - This project, which is projected to add close to 200 beds, would replace the buildings on Channing Way near Bowditch with single-bedroom apartments in a style similar to that of the College-Durant Apartments. Also pending Regent approval, this housing is anticipated to open in January 2004.

The Berkeley campus is also continuing in its efforts to provide additional student family housing.

Step 1 of the University Village Redevelopment Project should be completed by January 2001. This project includes replacing 268 units of 1940s housing, and 88 units built in the early 1960s, with 392 two- and three-bedroom units in flat and townhouse configurations. The units are clustered around courtyards that include laundry facilities, play areas, and a small community garden. Each unit has one or two bathrooms and a study alcove with network connections.

Step 2 of the project would involve replacing or renovating the remaining 412 units dating from the 1960s. To begin Step 2, the campus recently contracted with a team led by Posard Broek & Associates to perform a comprehensive facilities condition analysis of the housing structures, infrastructure and associated systems. The team will estimate how long these units could function presuming current maintenance levels, and assess how much it would cost to keep the housing functioning for up to 30 years with strategic renovations.

Renewing the Foundations of Excellence home

Source: Berkeleyan Special Issue, Fall 2000