Nov. 14, 2006
BERKELEY - A committee of the University of California Regents Tuesday voted to delay consideration of plans for the southeast corner of the Cal campus, including construction of a Student-Athlete High Performance Center, saying it needed more time to review materials on the project.
Campus officials said the delay does not affect the proposed schedule for the new student-athlete center, nor the University's commitment to construct the center without displacing home football games.
At issue is approval of the design of the student-athlete center and certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) that examines the campus's overall Southeast Campus Integrated Projects program, which aims to renovate and seismically strengthen California Memorial Stadium and better integrate athletic and academic aspects of the campus. The UC Regents Committee on Grounds and Buildings, which is authorized to certify the EIR and give final approval of the student-athlete center design, will decide on the matter at a special session in three weeks.
However, the committee did approve an interim financing model for the student-athlete center, allowing the campus to proceed with planning for the new building as it continues to make progress toward its $125 million fundraising goal for the project. That action goes to the full Board of Regents for ratification on Thursday.
At its meeting in Los Angeles today, the committee decided on the delay to give its members time to review all pertinent information, including the city of Berkeley's comments on the EIR and responses from campus EIR experts.
"We fully appreciate the issues at hand and the committee's desire to give those issues close attention," said Edward Denton, vice chancellor for Facilities Services. "With the careful work we've done in developing the southeast campus plan, I'm very confident the committee will certify the EIR and approve the design of the student-athlete center when it reconvenes in early December."
Athletic Director Sandy Barbour echoed that sentiment. "We appreciate the Regents' careful consideration of the EIR and Student-Athlete High Performance Center design," she said. "The center is an extremely important project that will improve the welfare of our student-athletes and ensure the competitive success of our teams.
"We are thankful for the committee's commitment to address this matter in early December," she added. "It allows us to remain on schedule with our plans."
The student-athlete center is a 142,000-square-foot facility on two levels to be built into the slope below the western wall of Memorial Stadium. It is the first of the southeast campus projects to reach design stage. The others, to come at a later date, include seismic strengthening and upgrades at the historic stadium, a new law and business building across from the stadium, landscape and site improvements along Piedmont Avenue and a new parking structure topped by a playing field at the current site of Maxwell Family Field.
The final environmental impact report was prepared to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.