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Construction Spotlight
Workers will stay busy in northwest corner of campus

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

Renewing the Foundations of Excellence

The seismic retrofitting of an existing building and new construction on an adjacent tract will keep the northwest corner of campus busy for the next couple of years.

A seismic replacement building, known as SRB1, is proposed for the south end of the Oxford Tract, along Hearst Avenue, if the Board of Regents approves the proposal in September. The structure will house employees being moved - or "surged" - out of their offices while their home buildings are being retrofitted. It is anticipated that each relocated department will occupy the building for up to two years at a time. Eventually, SRB1 will replace permanent campus space that has been rated seismically poor and will not be retrofitted.

Seismic Replacement Building
The proposed Seismic Replacement Building would front Hearst Street between Oxford and Walnut. The 75,000-square-foot building and an accompanying underground parking facility will house offices and classrooms forced to relocate from other buildings because of seismic retrofit work. The building is scheduled for permanent use after it is no longer needed for temporary relocation space. (Image: Heller Manus Architects)

The 75,000-square-foot building will house mostly offices, but will include some classroom space. Plans for the three-story structure include a two-level parking garage underneath, with approximately 170 parking spaces. Following approval by the Regents, construction is scheduled to begin next summer and will continue for 16 to 20 months.

aerial map  

The building will occupy the Hearst Street frontage, between Oxford and Walnut streets. Construction will not impact the crops located on the north side of the tract. Also, the campus is taking extra precautions to save a Mongolian Oak tree, the only one if its species found locally, along the Hearst frontage.

An aerial map view shows the proposed location of the Seismic Replacement Building and a relocated, infill-developed insectary, in relation to Barker Hall, also undergoing construction efforts to seismically retrofit the multi-story building. (Image: Heller Manus Architects) | Larger view

Tom Lollini, director of Physical and Environmental Planning, said SRB1 will be built to higher seismic standards than normal building codes require. Campus planners hope to employ this strategy when constructing new buildings, when possible.

"We want our new structures to be able to meet a higher performance standard," he said. "In the case of a major quake, we're hoping these new buildings will remain operational."

Using higher seismic code standards is not financially feasible for retrofitting existing structures, said Lollini, and its use for new structures will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Several small buildings, as well as two dilapidated greenhouse trailers currently on the lot, will be demolished to make way for the new building. Existing insectary and greenhouse uses on the site will likely be consolidated in a new infill building just behind SRB1, in an area currently used for parking on the tract.

Aesthetically, the new building will be a big improvement over the worn, wooden structures that currently reside at this corner of campus, according to Virginia Yang, assistant director of project management in Capital Projects.

Across the street, seismic upgrades to Barker Hall, which will improve the building from a "poor" to "good" rating, include the drilling of deep piers, constructing massive concrete foundations and shear walling on all four sides of the building. There will be additional work to make program upgrades and provide much needed system restorations.

Construction is scheduled to begin in September and will be completed in fall 2001.

All 250 Barker residents have been relocated to offices and labs all over campus. Some tenants have even moved off campus, with one group now stationed at Children's Hospital in Oakland. A directory has been posted near the entrances to the building, listing all functions formerly housed in Barker and their new locations.

The work at Barker will be noisy, especially during the pier drilling portion. The project team will mitigate impacts to reduce noise and dust, but some disruption can be expected.

The project team will use regular e-mail updates and meetings to keep campus and nearby community members informed of work schedules and progress.

Construction trailers on lower Hearst will cause the continued relocation of campus shuttle stops. Pedestrians in this area will need to cross Hearst and use the north sidewalk. The right turn lane from Oxford onto Hearst will remain closed. Some temporary access changes will occur during the course of construction. Those affected will be notified in advance.

Renewing the Foundations of Excellence home

Source: Berkeleyan Special Issue, Fall 2000