March 21, 2002
BERKELEY - Initiating the first phase of the University of California's seismic action plan for California Memorial Stadium, the venue's 32-year-old press box will be demolished next month and replaced with a temporary facility for the 2002 football season, Cal athletic director Steve Gladstone announced today.
The project is part of the campus's ambitious Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal (SAFER) launched by Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl in 1997. Currently one million square feet on campus are undergoing seismic retrofitting, including six large academic buildings.
The demolition of the stadium's press box-which was the only portion of the stadium to receive a "very poor" rating in the school's study-signals the first step in a long-term seismic upgrade project at Memorial Stadium. Since the stadium is not considered an educational facility by the state, private funding must be generated to finance the project.
"As an important public safety issue, the seismic retrofitting of Memorial Stadium is a high priority for Cal's new athletic administration," said Gladstone, who was hired as the school's athletic director in late April. "As we continue to work with private donors in reaching our fund-raising goals, the improvements will be made on a step-by-step basis. We expect the entire project to be completed in the next eight to 10 years. The press box demolition is a big first step."
Built in 1970, the Haas Press Box is located at the west rim of the stadium. Asbestos abatement and interior demolition has already begun within the press box, with the outside structure scheduled to begin coming down in early April.
The seats of approximately 800 Cal football season ticket holders (180 accounts) will be relocated due to the construction of a temporary 100-seat press box at the top of the stadium's west side.
"We have mailed out personal letters to those season ticket holders, explaining that their new seats will still be on the same yard-line as their old location, but just a few rows lower," said Jonathan Evans, Cal's director of ticket operations. "It's always a little unsettling when a customer experiences a seat relocation, however we believe this process will cause minimal disruption for our valued ticket holders who are effected."
The initial cost for the press box demolition and temporary replacement is $2.4 million. Besides meeting public safety standards, future phases of the overall plan will add new locker rooms and offices for women's sports teams at the school, as well as provide expansion and enhancements to the stadium's weight room and training facilities for Cal's student-athletes. In addition, such fan amenities as new restrooms, concession stands and concourse areas will be constructed as part of the overall plan.