UC Drops Stadium Brace To Avoid Alquist-Priolo Valuation for Gym Project

By Bay City News and Planet Staff
Sunday June 29, 2008 - 01:49:00 PM

UC-Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said Friday that UC Berkeley has told Judge Barbara Miller that it will not be placing a new grade beam on Memorial Stadium's foundation during construction of its new training facility. The university is also dropping its plan to hold up to seven non-football events at the football stadium.  

Lawyers for the UC Berkeley filed 100 pages of legal arguments and documents Friday in the long-running legal battle over whether the university should be allowed to build a new sports training center next to its football stadium. Mogulof said that now that the university has decided to remove the last remaining construction element deemed to be an alteration to the stadium,the grade beam, the school is suggesting that there no longer exists any need for Miller to further consider how or if she should arrive at a valuation for the stadium. The beam was designed to reinforce the aging stadium while the adjacent gym was under construction. 

The judge had previously ruled that University of California projects are subject to the Alquist-Priolo earthquake safety act, so that any alteration of the existing stadium, which is on the Hayward fault, would be limited to an expenditure of less than half the value of the current structure, with the valuation criteria yet to be determined. 

Mogulof said university officials believe that Miller's ruling that the training center, except for the grade beam, is a separate structure from the stadium essentially makes the valuation issue a moot point in connection with the first phase of the project. 

The university's court filing was in response to a proposed judgment filed by project opponents earlier this week in which they told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller that the university should scrap its plans unless it can prove that the football stadium can be retrofitted legally. 

Miller had issued a mixed ruling the previous week which keeps in place an injunction against the project that she issued on Jan. 29, 2007, which bars the university from going ahead with its proposed $140 million, 158,000-square-foot project for now. 

Mogulof said the university is now asking Miller to consider an immediate modification of the injunction to allow construction of the training center to begin. 

He said she hasn't yet indicated if she wants to hold another hearing or if she will issue her final ruling based solely on the new legal papers filed by both sides this week. 

But UC-Berkeley officials say they believe Miller's ruling opens the door for them to begin the project sometime in the near future.