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UC Berkeley Web Feature

Judge delays ruling on student-athlete center suit

– A ruling may not be issued until February on the three consolidated lawsuits over planned construction of UC Berkeley's new student-athlete center, to be situated west of California Memorial Stadium.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller announced the delay late Monday; she had been expected to rule no later than January 11.

At the center of her decision to delay the ruling is the question of whether the new training center should be considered a separate structure or an addition to Memorial Stadium. Were it not a separate structure, the center could be subject to restrictions under the Alquist-Priolo seismic zoning act that apply to additions or alterations to existing structures that, like the stadium, straddle active earthquake faults.

During oral arguments in the trial, the campus expressed a willingness to present outside expert testimony from engineers to support its assertion that that the new center will be a separate structure. Miller's Monday order directs the parties in the suit to submit such additional expert evidence by Dec. 31.

In the order, the judge states that she will issue her final ruling on the lawsuits no later than Feb. 6.

"We welcome the opportunity to provide the court with this evidence," said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. "We're eager to confirm what we have said all along - that the Student-Athlete High Performance Center is unquestionably a separate structure."

During the course of oral arguments, Judge Miller had raised questions about whether the university, as a state agency, was exempt from provisions of the Alquist-Priolo act. The judge's order this week also confirms that the act could apply to construction plans for modernizing California Memorial Stadium and construction of the $125 million athletic center.

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