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Earthquake preparedness remains top priority

22 August 2002

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations


BERKELEY - Many campus facilities once in dire need of seismic upgrades stand strong this fall following major capital improvements. Among them is the historic Hearst Memorial Mining Building, which will reopen soon after three years of massive renovation.

Seismic retrofit work is nearing an end at the Hearst Memorial Mining Building. (Bonnie Powell photo)

The 95-year-old Hearst structure now is supported by base isolators to allow it to survive a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. It will house classrooms, offices and world-class research laboratories for the College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering and for an emerging nanoscience initiative.

A rededication ceremony for the grand building, designed in 1901 by John Galen Howard, is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22.

Seismic retrofits of Latimer, Hildebrand and Barrows halls —buildings with significant classroom and lab space — and of Wurster Hall’s north wing will be done in time for classes next week. An upgrade of Barker Hall will wrap up early this fall and a retrofit of Wurster’s south wing will be finished by year’s end.

Early next year, work will begin to demolish Stanley Hall, a seismically poor building that is home to researchers in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology. In the coming months, its occupants will be temporarily moved elsewhere on campus. A new building —the Stanley Quantitative Biosciences and Bioengineering Facility — is scheduled to open in late 2005.

Memorial Stadium also is undergoing seismic work, and sportswriters covering the first football game this season won’t be sitting in the 32-year-old press box, which was rated seismically very poor. In its place is a temporary box with more than 100 seats for reporters and booths for broadcasters.

Let there be (more) light
The Campanile, closed for elevator and modernization work, is expected to reopen in late November. In the meantime, the landmark has been undergoing other improvements. A much brighter beacon will be installed this month at the tower’s top, and brighter lighting already was added to its base. These lights bring added safety and drama to the bell tower, where carillon concerts continue despite these projects.

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