University Seeks Bids for Kerr Campus, Li Ka-Shing Building

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday November 27, 2007

UC Berkeley’s building boom continues to move forward, with calls for bids issued to three companies for the renovation of seven buildings housing 800 students at Clark Kerr Campus. 

The university’s contractor in a second major project, the Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Services, is also seeking subcontractors on that project—which will follow demolition of Earl Warren Jr. Hall, which now occupies the site.  

The university plans a $130 million retrofit for Clark Kerr Campus, a 500-acre Spanish Colonial Revival complex in the Berkeley hills which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a city landmark. 

Three construction firms have prequalified to submit bids by the Dec. 5 deadline: Plant Construction Company and Nibbi Brothers Associates, both of San Francisco, and Sundt Construction of Tucson. All three firms have experience with large historic properties. 

Sundt built the original housing, schools and hospital for Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II and relocated a historic London bridge to the Arizona desert, while Plant has restored and renovated the Fairmont Hotel and the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Nibbi has done retrofits and repairs to San Francisco’s Pier One and the Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden Gate Park. 

The university presented preliminary plans to the city in May, and the project under bid will see the full renovation of seven of the 20 buildings on the campus, plus additional repairs and renovations to the facility’s steam plant and auditorium building. 

University officials have assured the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission that all work will conform to the complex’s historic character, save for some alterations of pathways and railings needed to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Those latter alterations are being conducted as a separate project from the housing renovation. Seismic retrofits of some of the campus’s dozen other buildings have already been completed. 

According to the prospectus seeking bids, work will be conducted in two phases, each totaling 97,000 square feet and each expected to take 10 to 11 months. 

Bids will be opened on the afternoon of Dec. 5. 

McCarthy Building Cos. of San Francisco, which won the contract for the Li Ka-Shing building last August, is now seeking subcontractors to bid on construction of that project, which the university has estimated will eventually cost $117 million. 

The firm is seeking companies which can do everything including provide utilities, hang drywall, install elevators and slap on the final coat of paint on the structure, which will rise to more than 100 feet near the crescent at the western edge of the main campus at Oxford Street. 

Deadline for bids is Dec. 28. 

Demolition of Earl Warren Jr. Hall removes from the campus map the name of the Supreme Court Chief Justice whose tenure saw a revolution in the nation’s laws governing race and civil liberties. 

Warren, a California native who had served as Alameda County District Attorney and California Attorney General before his elevation to the high court by President Dwight Eisenhower, presided over the court from 1953 to 1969. 

His name is still memorialized at the UC Berkeley Law School in the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, which was created two years ago to conduct policy research on issues of law, race, ethnicity and justice. 

Information on the bids for these and other university projects may be found at www.cp.berkeley.edu/AdsForBids.html