Wrecking Ball Scheduled For Earl Warren Hall

By Richard Brenneman
Friday July 13, 2007

Demolition of UC Berkeley’s Earl Warren Hall—an architectural tribute to the late California governor and U.S. Supreme Court chief justice—could begin as early as next month. 

Because the building housed radiological equipment and experiments for the School of Public Health, the university is looking for a company with skills in handling radioactive materials to aid in the demolition. 

According to the Request for Qualifications posted at the university’s Capital  

Projects website, demolition will begin in late August and be completed in October. 

The 80,000-square-foot building is one of the most visible to Berkeley residents, located on the crescent that faces Oxford Street at the main entrance to the campus. 

The edifice that will rise in its place, shown by university officials to the Berkeley Planning Commission last July, is a 200,000-square-foot, $160 million structure that will rise to just over 100 feet above the landscape. 

The new building will house molecular biology labs focusing on infectious diseases, degenerative diseases of the nervous system and cancer biology. Plans also call for a stem cell research facility. 

A magnetic resonance imaging facility for charting the course of human experiments is also in the plans. 

And while the old building was labeled for a jurist who did more than any other individual to advance the cause of civil rights in the nation’s legal system, its successor will be named for an industrial tycoon and high school dropout. 

The Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences derives is name from the Hong Kong real estate developer, container port magnate and cell phone entrepreneur who gave the university $40 million to help fund the project. 

He was named the world’s ninth richest person by Forbes Magazine Tuesday for his estimated net worth of $23 billion, up from last year’s 10th place and an $18.8 billion purse. 

The public health school itself will relocate just off campus, in a building that will replace the old state Department of Health Services complex on the east side of Shattuck Avenue between Hearst Avenue and Berkeley Way. 

Radiological consultants have until the end of the month to submit their qualifications. 

The building was formally dedicated by then Chancellor Clark Kerr in 1955, one year after Warren read out his decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, the case that declared segregated public schools unconstitutional.