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Public Meeting Set for Stadium Plans By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday December 02, 2005

Those with concerns about UC Berkeley’s major expansion plans for the Memorial Stadium area will be able to offer comments at Thursday’s scoping session on the project. 

The university is holding the session as part of preparing an environmental impact re port (EIR) on the stadium seismic upgrade and other development plans for the Southeast Quadrant of the main campus. 

The session will begin at 7 p.m. in Booth Auditorium of Boalt Hall, near the northwest corner of Bancroft Way and Piedmont Avenue. 

Chanc ellor Robert Birgeneau and other university officials formally unveiled the plans in a Nov. 10 press conference. A recently released initial study—the first step on the road to the final EIR—provides new details and timelines for the massive project, whic h will unfold over the course of six years. 

When completed, the project will compromise 14.2 percent of the 2.2 million square feet of new building planned in the university’s Long Range Development Plan for 2020, and account for 24 percent of the plan’s new parking space. 

One question they couldn’t answer then has been resolved: The new Memorial Stadium retrofit will be designed to handle a magnitude 8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault and a magnitude 7.4 temblor on the Hayward Fault, said UC Media Relations Executive Director Marie Felde. 


Tiered plans 

Development would progress in stages—tiers—starting next winter with construction of the 135,000-square-foot Student Athlete High Performance Center along the western side of Memorial Stadium, with completion slated for fall 2008. 

Seismic strengthening and renovation of the western half of the stadium would end in summer 2010. Similar improvements on the eastern half of the stadium would begin in the winter of 2009/10, with completion due in the fa ll 2012. 

While stadium seismic reinforcement are ongoing, construction will begin at the site of Maxwell Family Field north of the stadium, where a parking structure will be built to provide spaces lost to construction—545 on both sides of Piedmont Avenu e/Gayley Road—plus an additional 300 new spaces. 

When construction is complete, the playing field will be restored atop the parking structure, with the new facility opening in summer 2010. 

Construction on the west side of Piedmont/Gayley will begin in n ext winter and continue through spring 2012, with additions to the existing Boalt Hall and Haas School of Business buildings continuing throughout the period which would include creation of an additional 5,000 square feet of new construction. 

The major c onstruction planned on the west side of Gayley is the 180,000-square-foot Law and Business Connection building, which will be located south of Boalt Hall, to incorporate large meeting spaces indoors and out and new offices to accommodate programs that wil l bring together the law and business graduate programs. 

Construction of the new building is scheduled to begin in winter 2007/8 and conclude two years later. To build the structure, the university must first demolish the 36,000-square-foot circular Calv in Laboratory building, which will entail hazardous materials surveys throughout the demolition process. 

Also scheduled for demolition are two smaller campus buildings, the Cheney House and the Cheney Cottage at 2241 and 2243 College Ave. The project als o calls for renovations of the five Piedmont Avenue Houses at 2222-2240 Piedmont Ave. All seven structures and Memorial Stadium are considered secondary historic resources. 

The project area includes one primary historic resource, Piedmont Avenue—Gayley R oad, the latter designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the founder of American landscape architecture. 


Study concerns 

According to the initial study document, many issues which would typically be addressed in an EIR were sufficiently addressed in the EIR fo r the university’s 2020 Long Range Development Plan. 

Among the areas of specific concern slated for study are: 

• Impacts on scenic vistas. 

• Potential impacts of the proposed permanent night lighting at Memorial Stadium and Maxwell Family Field on surrounding neighborhoods, especially Panoramic Hill, whose residents had their homes included in a newly created National Historic District in large part because of the fear of adverse impacts from the stadium. 

• Potential degradation of the current visual character and quality site and its surroundings. 

• Impacts on cultural resources, including Panoramic Hill and other landmarks on or near the project site. 

• Possible adverse impacts on archaeological resources which may lie underneath the project area. 

• The implications of the projects location on and near a major earthquake fault—the Hayward Fault—including the potentials for strong ground shaking, soil liquefaction destructive soil expansion during a major temblor. 

• Impacts on drainage, runoff, w ater quality and the water table. 

• Possible conflicts with city plans and policies. 

• Noise impacts from crowds at the stadium and Maxwell Field, as well as ground vibrations resulting from noise. 

• Impacts on emergency response, access and evacuation plans. 

• Traffic impacts, including effects on bicyclists and pedestrians. 

• Effects on wastewater and storm water systems, including the possibility that the project could require an expansion of existing treatment facilities. 

• The possible need for construction of new steam heating facilities. 

• Potential impacts that could degrade the environment, significantly reduce fish or wildlife habitats—especially of an endangered species—or cause a catastrophic decline in a fish or wildlife species, or el iminate important examples of modern or archaeological history. 

• Environmental effects which cause substantial indirect or direct effects on humans.  


Comments and reports 

Written comments will also be accepted, both at the meeting and by mail to Jennifer Lawrence, Principal Planner, PEP/Capital Projects, Room 1, A&E Building, University of California, Berkeley 94720-1380 and via e-mail to Lawrence at 

The deadline for submitting written comments for inclusion in the scoping process is 5 p.m. Dec. 14. 

The completed EIR will be the last of three environmental documents prepared for the combined projects. The first, an initial study, is available at the Berkeley Public Library’s main branch at 2090 Kittredge St. and at UC Berk eley’s Capital Projects Physical and Environmental Planning offices in Room 1 of the A&E Building north of Sproul Hall. A Draft EIR will come first, which will allow for another public comment period before the final document is completed. 

The 57-page In itial Study has also been posted online at