Disapproval of Memorial Stadium construction continues

The construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center has irritated some of those living nearby.
Ayon Kabir/Staff
The construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center has irritated some of those living nearby.

With the new Student-Athlete High Performance Center set to open in a few weeks, members of the Berkeley community voiced their concern with the entire Memorial Stadium construction process at Tuesday night’s public hearing to discuss the project’s Environmental Impact Report.

The performance center — a project estimated to cost $150 million and covered by private donations — will be of use to 13 different sports teams, with a whole section devoted to UC Berkeley’s football program.

The performance center has been a project of the campus’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics since 2005, when it was included as part of the initial plans for the Memorial Stadium renovations that were unveiled by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the performance center is a vast improvement over the “extremely inconvenient” system in place before.

“Some teams had no locker rooms of their own and were changing clothes in their cars,” Mogulof said. “When you go back to locker issues and places for team meetings, it was either at Haas Pavilion or nonexistent.”

While there has been controversy regarding the stadium construction in general, campus officials maintain that the construction of the performance center thus far has not been problematic or greatly delayed since ground was broken in the spring of 2009. Furthermore, there have not been any complaints or issues raised by neighbors with the performance center building process specifically, according to Mogulof.

“This is a different kind of work … there’s no demolition,” Mogulof said. “A lot of the noise was sheltered or muffled — it’s a little more removed from where folks are living.”

As the performance center prepares to open, residents around the stadium and the Panoramic Hill neighborhood made their case that the measured environmental impact of the Memorial Stadium project has been understated. Panoramic Hill resident Robin Olsen stated that “people are confused.”

“There’s the futility of this meeting — the project manager is sitting on the side (of the meeting) … people have given up,” Olsen said. “When they accustom players to noisy and hostile conditions … they also subject the neighbors to this.”

Additionally, representatives of the UC Berkeley student body were in attendance to highlight their concerns or comments on the construction thus far.

ASUC President Vishalli Loomba held that the campus was doing “a good job addressing concerns,” whereas Berkeley Student Cooperative Vice President of External Affairs Alex Ghenis discussed how the construction was negatively affecting Berkeley co-op residents living in Sherman Hall — across the street from the construction area.

Ghenis said that residents of Sherman Hall have reported respiratory problems due to dust from the construction and are also requesting that double-pane windows be installed.

The topic of what constituted an appropriate volume for the construction was another issue of frustration for some community members. Hank Gehman, a representative for the community group Stand Up for Berkeley!, claimed that “noise rules haven’t been dealt with,” regarding the sound of backup beepers on trucks early in the morning.

“Please make arrangements so that there’s no more noise before 7 a.m.,” Gehman said.

Berkeley resident and Stand Up for Berkeley! member Nigel Guest said the campus has mismanaged the parking situation around the stadium area.

“New parking spaces are needed … the number of lost spaces has been totaled at 546,” Guest said. “And it will be impossible to recover all the South Plaza spaces because of the large utility building in the plaza.”

In response to the criticisms, Christine Shaff, communications manager for the campus’s Facilities Services, said she was “glad that people came out.”

“There was not really anything new,” Shaff said. “We will continue working with all the neighbors.”

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  • Anonymous

    UC faculty gain pay raises, merit increases, salary increases from Californians economic pain and the Stadium is but one example.

    Cal tuition, fee increases exceed national average rate of increase.

    Wasteful spending by UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau

    University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary)
    has forgotten that he is a public servant, steward of the public money, not
    overseer of his own fiefdom. These are not isolated examples: Cal tuition, fee
    increases exceed national average rate of increase; recruits (using California
    tax $) out of state $50,600 students who displace qualified Californians from Cal;
    spends $7,000,000 + for consultants to do his senior management work (prominent East Coast university
    accomplishing same 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for
    lectures; in procuring $3,000,000 consulting
    firm he failed to receive proposals from others; Latino enrollment drops
    while out of state jumps 2010 (M Krupnick Contra Costa Times); ranked # 70 USA
    best universities Forbes; tuition to Return on Investment drops below top 10; QS
    academic ranking falls below top 10; only 50 attend Birgeneau all employees
    meeting; visits down 20%; absence Cal. senior management control NCAA places basketball
    program on probation.

    It’s all shameful. There is no justification for violations by
    a steward of the public trust. Absolutely none.  

    Governor Brown, UC Board of Regents Chair Lansing must vigorously
    enforce stringent oversight over Chancellor Birgeneau who uses Cal. as his fiefdom.

     Email opinion to UC Board of Regents  [email protected]

  • Sentient

    over $300,000,000.  for the idiotic athletic culture when the students are being dunned with
    raising tuition and fees…

    priorities anyone?

  • Athena

    Favorite Berkeley sport: BITCHING!

  • Hee

    Get over it people.  People are starving and dieing all over the world.  Discrimination of all kinds is rampant.  Young people grow up in filth (right here in the East Bay) and can’t read or write.

    And you are worried about a bit of temporary noise and dust.  Get over it people, and over yourselves.  Outside your own self-centered worlds, you’re not important to our community.

    Imagine what good you could accomplish if you raised your voices about something other than yourselves.

    • Anonymous

      This shovel ready project must continue….jobs.

    • Seer of Things

      Not just temporary noise and dust, but also spending several hundred million dollars of money we don’t have on activities with at best a tangential relationship to the University’s mission. 

      Panem et circenses…

    • Guest

      Are you arguing that the existence of poverty and squalor means nothing beneficial should be undertaken until they’re ended?  The construction contract agreed to mitigate the impacts of the project; enforce it.

  • sherman

    I feel for the complainers.  I was meeting someone at I-House, and was waiting for them on the outdoor plaza, and the noise was constant and annoying at first, and soon became unbearable.  I can’t imagine living or working around that area with the constant noise.

    • Funny, construction noise doesn’t seem to bother the millionaire neighbors when they are remodeling their own homes on an annual basis, but when it is blocks away at the stadium it is unbearable.

      • Seer of Things

        In all the years I lived on Panoramic Hill, walking my dog daily up and down it, I never saw more than one or two remodeling projects in progress. 

        Hint : most home remodeling projects don’t involve dozens of workmen, trucks and earthmovers running constantly, blockage of throughways several times per day, or jackhammers and other heavy equipment being operated 8+ hours at a stretch. 

        Your servile desire to extend apologetics on the behalf of the University’s administration makes me suspect your identity, Captain Mogulof–err, Morgan.

        • Too **** bad.  The stadium needs to be renovated, and UC has a legal right do so.  Would the whiny millionaire NIMBYs rather see thousands of students killed during an earthquake?  Maybe they would.

           

          • Anonymous

            A legal right to expand on top of an earthquake fault?  Well UC Regents got the government to make an exception to the law promulgated for protection of the public just so that they could spend $1.3 BILLION to retrofit a structure that never should have been sited on top of an earthquake fault in an extreme  hazardous fire area.  Think of that next time you pay your increased fees to attend UC, that is if you actually do attend UC.

          • Perspective

            On that same note shouldn’t those homes never have been built in the same fault and wildfire zones?

          • Anonymous

            Many homes not within Alquist Priolo zone.  Besided they do not hold 60,000+ people. Berkeley/Oakland/UC dismissed wild fires before firestorm of 1991.  Sat in UC vice chancellor Dan Boggan’s office ’89 when he said wildfires only occur over the hills – he was wrong; had forgotten about 1923 Berkeley wild fire, as had most city officials, except fire department.  With global warming wild fires become more frequent.  Global warming was only recognized recently.

          • Guest

            “Global warming was only recognized recently.”
            I’ve seen references to it over thirty years.  What do you mean by “recognized”?

          • Guest

            “next time you pay your increased fees to attend UC”
            Tuition fees pay the costs of instruction, such as professors’ salaries, departmental staffing and records, building repairs, etc.
            The stadium is being financed with private donations, not tuition.

          • Seer of Things

            Private donations that have not yet been collected, or even promised.  Private donations that are, apparently, expected to materialize out of thin air.

          • Guest

            I don’t dispute that.  I do dispute Cooperhawk’s assertion that tuition is funding the project.

          • Anonymous

            Tuition is NOT funding the project, but UC funds are.
            ://archive.dailycal.org/article/111410/financial_plan_is_on_shaky_ground

          • Guest

            Thank you.  I don’t defend the project, but I wanted to show the error of saying that tuition is funding the construction.

          • Guest

            “the law promulgated for protection of the public”
            I think the Alquist-Priolo Act was intended to move public schools away from earthquake faults, since school children are mandated to attend them.  University students, on the other hand, have the option of deciding for themselves where and whether to attend school.

      • Guest

        Loud noise bothers millionaires as much as it does students and everyone else.  Your spite is no excuse for the contractor’s negligence in meeting his obligations.

  • Anonymous

    “covered by private donations”?
    THAT’S SO FALSE, THEY COULDN’T RAISE THE FUNDS
    this reporter doesn’t even read previous articles on the issue from his own newspaper!
    keep drinking UCOP kool-aid

  • These NIMBY whiners make me sick.   The stadium was here long before they bought their houses.  If Robin Olsen is so inconvenienced, she should move to Walnut Creek.

    And it’s hilarious that the coop kiddies don’t suffer respiratory problems from all the drugs they smoke, but they need double pane windows because of a construction project down the block.  Pay for the windows yourselves!

    • Guest

      Double-pane windows reduce noise.  The homeowners and co-op residents chose to situate next to a stadium, not a construction site.

      • Anonymous

        The stadium renovation project has been in the works for years.

        • John Coney

          And as soon as the construction is done the whiners won’t even remember what the problem was and then move on to creating ‘news’ by complaining about something new.

  • Anonymous

    Chancellors, Faculty University of California
    Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have cleaned up at the expense of students, California taxpayers. Californians face mortgage defaults, 12% unemployment, pay reductions, loss of unemployment benefits. UC Berkeley shares sacrifices? No Chancellor, Faculty layoffs or wage concessions. UC Berkeley tuition, fee increases are arrogance. If wages better
    elsewhere, chancellors, vice chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP apply
    for positions. If wages are what commit you to Cal, leave for better paying job.

    UC Berkeley wages must reflect California’s ability to pay, not what others
    are paid. There is no good reason to raise tuition, fees during the
    longest, deepest recession in USA
    history when wage concessions available from Chancellors, Faculty. The sky will
    not fall on UC Berkeley.  

    Share the sacrifices UC Berkeley Faculty, Vice Chancellors,
    Provost, Chancellor:

    No furloughs   

    18 percent reduction in UCOP salaries & $50
    million cut.

    18 percent prune of campus chancellors’, vice chancellors’ salaries.

    15 percent trim of tenured faculty salaries, increased teaching load

    10 percent decrease in non-tenured faculty salaries, as well as increase research,
    teaching load

    100% elimination of all Academic Senate, Academic Council costs, wages.

     (17,000 UC paid employees earn more than $100,000)
    UC Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing can bridge the public
    trust gap with reassurances that salaries of Chancellors Faculty reflect depressed
    California wages.

    The sky will not fall on the 10 campuses with UC’s shared
    sacrifices.

     

     

    Chancellors, Faculty University of California
    Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have cleaned up at the expense of students, California taxpayers. Californians
    face mortgage defaults, 12% unemployment, pay reductions, loss of unemployment
    benefits. UC Berkeley shares sacrifices? No Chancellor, Faculty layoffs or wage
    concessions. UC Berkeley tuition, fee increases are arrogance. If wages better
    elsewhere, chancellors, vice chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP apply
    for positions. If wages are what commit you to Cal, leave for better paying job.

    UC Berkeley wages must reflect California’s ability to pay, not what others
    are paid. There is no good reason to raise tuition, fees during the
    longest, deepest recession in USA
    history when wage concessions available from Chancellors, Faculty. The sky will
    not fall on UC Berkeley.  

    Share the sacrifices UC Berkeley Faculty, Vice Chancellors,
    Provost, Chancellor:

    No furloughs   

    18 percent reduction in UCOP salaries & $50
    million cut.

    18 percent prune of campus chancellors’, vice chancellors’ salaries.

    15 percent trim of tenured faculty salaries, increased teaching load

    10 percent decrease in non-tenured faculty salaries, as well as increase research,
    teaching load

    100%
    elimination of all Academic Senate, Academic Council costs, wages.

     

    (17,000
    UC paid employees earn more than $100,000)

     

    UC Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing can bridge the public
    trust gap with reassurances that salaries of Chancellors Faculty reflect depressed
    California
    wages.

    The sky will not fall on the 10 campuses with UC’s shared
    sacrifices.

  • Anonymous

    In 1922 then Secretary of the Regents Gordon Sproul assured the Berkeley city council there were 10 acres available for parking; how many acres of parking are there now?  Where are people going to park when UC begins Friday night football?   Students will have to move their cars from Prospect like they do on Saturday games?  What about faculty and staff who cannot park on football game days? 

    Bad site in 1922.  Even worse site now since we know so much more about earthquakes and wildfires.  Loss of life still possible. 

    But then, it was what Tedford required and UC bows deeply to him?  And isn’t football Berkeley’s most important product?  Football is reason students come to Berkeley right?

    • Anonymous

      Right

  • Whatsup

    From a neighborly perspective, this monumental construction project on a fault line does make people wonder why so much money is being poured into the ground, during a time of tremendous economic hardship.  One good shake and it will be just a pile of dust.

    • Realist_Optimist

      actually that’s why its a pain in the ass now, so it wont be a pile of dust when the “shake comes.” please get educated

      • Seer of Things

        So instead of a pile of dust, we’ll have a pile of broken concrete and rebar.  You’re right, that’s a massive improvement.

  • Jim

    This just shows what type of student leader Vishalli will be this upcoming year. Instead of standing up for students she’s on the side of the administration. 

    • Disillusioned

      Yup. And thats why our system of student representation is deeply flawed. These kids “representing” us don’t care about us, or the future of students at UC Berkeley. They care about how good the “experience” will look on their resume so they can go on to high paying jobs ruining more people’s lives for their own gain