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Considering enrollment in the construction equation
Tidal Wave II may not be driving campus construction but will impact the approach to these efforts

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

Renewing the Foundations of Excellence

As if a major effort to renew and seismically improve buildings on more than 25 percent of the campus weren't enough, campus planners now must factor potential enrollment growth into the equation of how the campus plans for the future.

Like all colleges and universities in California, the Berkeley campus is facing growing student enrollment demand. Former UC President Clark Kerr dubbed the pending growth "Tidal Wave II," a reference to the flood of potential students that are entering college in the next 10 years. The increase is caused by the children of the Baby Boomer generation reaching college age, a growing population base in California, and an increased interest in college attendance.

Berkeley's share of Tidal Wave II students is expected to be a 4,000-student increase over 10 years. Systemwide, the University of California is facing enrollment growth of 63,000 students.

According to Dennis Hengstler, executive director for the Office of Planning and Analysis, 1,000 of the proposed 4,000 additional students will be accommodated within existing enrollment caps and existing programs, leaving the remainder to plan for over the next nine years. During its peak, UC Berkeley is expected to add 400 more students each year, with a gradual tapering to approximately 200 students as the boom winds down in 2010.

"Finding room for enrollment growth is a challenge, and it will have a significant impact on the campus," said Tom Koster, assistant vice chancellor for Capital Budget and Planning. "We need to find ways to accommodate this increase while maintaining our functionality and sense of community. We will be looking carefully at all possible options in the coming months."

Accommodating more students at the same time space on campus is temporarily shrinking - due to seismic safety upgrades - is quite a logistical challenge for campus space planners. It is also a sensitive issue for the Berkeley community, concerned about the impact on housing and traffic.

Fortunately, several strategies for handling the extra students - and their supporting faculty and staff - do not require more space on campus.

Options under consideration, says Hengstler, include: expanding the summer session enrollment by providing a variety of financial and other incentives; offering more courses and programs at off-campus education centers, such as UC Extension Laguna campus in San Francisco and the Richmond Field Station; increasing study abroad and internship opportunities; and initiating some distance learning programs.

Although significant progress has been made in increasing the number of students who graduate in just four years, said Hengstler, the campus is exploring more ways to decrease the time-to-degree to help accommodate additional students. Students were offered a $500 rebate this summer to attend summer school, reducing the classroom demand during the fall semester.

While these measures should handle the bulk of the student boom, planners may still need to find room on campus. One way to free up space, said Koster, is moving some activities to university properties away from the main campus, such as 6701 San Pablo Ave. or the Richmond Field Station.

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Source: Berkeleyan Special Issue, Fall 2000