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Contact: Kathleen Scalise
(510) 643-7741


A media tour of the University of California, Berkeley's historic Hearst Mining Building, a 1907 Beaux Arts treasure being retrofitted, rehabilitated and restored. Currently, but only for a short time, the building has been cut free from its foundations and can be seen "floating" on high-tech base isolators. This provides a rare chance to film work in progress under the building as well as sweeping Bay Area vistas from the upper floors.

The project is the most ambitious building transformation to date on any of UC's nine campuses.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Friday, June 9.  
WHERE: Meet at the main office at the construction site trailers on UC Berkeley's Hearst Mining Circle, north of University Avenue and west of Gayley Road, near the campus east entrance.  
WHO: Onsite construction coordinator Jake Skaer will lead the tour.  
BACKGROUND: Built originally of unreinforced masonry, the old mining building is located just 800 feet west of the Hayward Fault. It is being seismically strengthened and upgraded into a teaching and research center for the College of Engineering's highly-rated Department of Materials Science Engineering.

Turn-of-the century scientists working in the building used smelting shops and crushing towers to delve into ore samples from California's mine fields. But the planned renovation will allow today's engineers to create, atom-by-atom, new materials to propel technology into the next century.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The renovation is a close collaboration of campus faculty, community historical groups and the state historic preservation office.

VISUALS: Some of the base isolators are installed below dramatic, two-story-high piers that currently stand silhouetted against building. The piers soon will be covered as construction proceeds. The building, a gift from Phoebe Apperson Hearst, was designed by John Galen Howard and features an elaborate façade, a four-story gallery with an intricate ceiling, and many rooms, including one with views of UC Berkeley's mine shaft. A previously unknown brick herringbone floor that matches the gallery ceiling was discovered in the building during construction, unearthed under more modern flooring. The media tour will include access under the building. There, enough earth was excavated and foundations removed to accommodate large dump trucks and earthmoving equipment, which can be seen at work in the enormous cavity.



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