The UC Board of Regents’ unanimous decision to partially rescind their previously accepted California Memorial Stadium project approval was a responsibly cautious move. Though we wish the rescission were unnecessary, in light of the current legal concerns surrounding the renovation project, we understand the board’s action.
On November 29, 2010 Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled that UC Berkeley had inappropriately used an addendum to detail major changes to the renovation project. Roesch also found that the campus did not adequately analyze the environmental impact of the proposed changes, which would have warranted an entirely new Environmental Impact Report.
The legal battle and ensuing rescission of approval is symptomatic of failed oversight and thorough planning.
The campus is beyond well-equipped to produce the proper framework through which a renovation project can and should take place, and there is no excuse for the misuse of the addendum.
With a $320 million price-tag comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, the inefficiency surrounding the project — be it the misused addendum or lack of proper planning across all levels — overwhelmed the project’s ambitious aims and resulted in the board’s partial rescission of approval.
The ongoing errors display a level of carelessness that is simply unaffordable — legal battles are costly both in resources and in time, and the campus can little afford to spare either.
Going forward, the campus must ensure that the court’s concerns are met in a timely and transparent manner. Openness to the public will be key in preventing more legal showdowns and ensuring that the renovation project is not unnecessarily prolonged.
Memorial Stadium is more than just another football field. It is a symbol of Cal and our campus’ storied history. The stadium provides current students and alumni with a conversation regardless of how far apart their graduation dates are.
By allowing Memorial Stadium to be ensnared in these legal obstacles, the campus is risking the stadium’s future status as a symbol of Berkeley’s modernity and commitment to excellence.
The class of 2012 is unfortunate to not have that stadium as its home field next season, but the renovation is absolutely essential given Memorial Stadium’s location over a fault line. With that being said, a problem that became apparent in November of 2010 must not become a burden to the class of 2013 — that would be yet another disappointment.