UC Berkeley Laguna Street Extension Nominated for National Register

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday December 11, 2007

The State Historical Resources Commission unanimously voted to list the UC Berkeley Extension Laguna Street Campus as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places at its meeting in Palm Springs last month. 

UC Berkeley’s plan to convert its historic six-acre extension campus in San Francisco into a private rental-housing development has met with opposition from preservationists and community groups who want to retain the site for public use. 

First used as a city orphanage from 1854 until the San Francisco State Normal School was established in the 1920s to accommodate public school teachers, the campus has also served as the original home of San Francisco State University (SFSU). 

According to Cynthia Servetnick of Save the UC Berkeley Extension, the former San Francisco State Teacher’s College campus merits recognition for its association with the normal school movement in California, as one of two remaining normal school building complexes in the state, and for its association with Frederick Burk, the school’s first president and a significant figure in California education. 

“Unfortunately, two of the buildings, Middle Hall Gymnasium and Richardson Hall Annex will still be demolished unless we win the CEQA lawsuit,” she said. 

Citing prohibitive maintenance costs to bring the campus up to current seismic and disability codes, the UC Regents closed the UC Extension building in 2004, and it has been sitting empty since then. 

Although the Planning Commission has scheduled a meeting to approve the final EIR and rezone the site from public to private on Dec. 20, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and State Senator Carole Migden have asked for a continuance because the project contains only 20 percent affordable housing. 

A public hearing on the final EIR and the campus rezoning has also been scheduled for Dec. 20 at 1:30 p.m., San Francisco City Hall, Room 400.