Desks, office supplies up for grabs in UC Berkeley’s Campbell Hall

Andrew Kuo/Staff
The furniture in Campbell Hall, which is scheduled to be demolished, is being given away for free.

Students will have a unique opportunity to put together a home office from the remnants of Campbell Hall on a budget Thursday — all of the building’s contents will be free.

UC Berkeley ReUSE, a student group dedicated to promoting the reuse of materials on campus — along with the Department of Capital Projects and the Physical Plant-Campus Services’ Campus Recycling and Refuse Services — is organizing a free giveaway of all the materials left in Campbell Hall, which, deemed seismically unsafe in 1997, is still shakily standing after being vacated by faculty and staff in the department of astronomy and the College of Letters and Science advising.

The giveaway — in which students, faculty and staff with a Cal ID will be able to participate — begins at 11 a.m. Thursday and continues through Saturday. The general public will be able to join Cal ID holders in browsing the leftover treasures of Campbell Hall on Saturday.

“We have over 100 chairs, 50 desks, 300 binders, tables, bulletin boards, way too many folders and hanging files, some cool artwork and kitchen supplies, and lots more,” according to the event flier on ReUSE’s homepage.

Campbell Hall was classified as seismically poor in 1997 through the campus’ Seismic Action plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal program. Preparations for demolition will begin in early November, and the building will be demolished starting February 2012.

The main obstruction to completing the retrofit, which was approved four years ago, has been funding, according to Cathy Koshland, vice provost for teaching, learning, academic planning and facilities for UC Berkeley.

“It’s been a torturous project to get the state funds,” Koshland said.

In the past, the funding for seismic retrofitting projects has come in large part from state general obligation bond measures approved by voters. However, with state support for the UC system dwindling, the cash flow has slowed to a trickle.

There have been no new state general obligation bond measures for funding the UC system since 2006, according to the 2010-20 Consolidated State and Non-State Capital Financial Plan put forth by the UC.

Between 1998 and 2010, the UC system was furnished with more than $5 billion for capital improvements. According to the plan, $2.9 billion came from electorate-approved bond measures.

The budget for the demolition and reconstruction of Campbell Hall is $77.2 million, plus an additional $11 million in federal funds to build a physics lab attached to the building, according to Christine Shaff, director of communications for facilities services at UC Berkeley.

The campus has emptied the building of any materials that could be used in other campus buildings, such as doorknobs and window frames, Shaff said. Most furniture that was left could not be brought into the astronomy department and advising office’s new locations due to space restrictions.

The concept of the giveaway has been done before on campus on a smaller scale, but UC Berkeley policy had to be amended to allow the free giveaway to happen at Campbell Hall in such a large capacity, Shaff said.


A previous version of this article may have implied that students are the only group permitted to participate in the Campbell Hall giveaway. In fact, students, faculty and staff with Cal IDs are allowed to take part in the event.

A previous version of this article may have implied that ReUSE was the only group which organized the event. In fact, ReUSE worked in collaboration with two other campus groups — the campus Department of Capital Projects and the campus Physical Plant-Campus Services’ Campus Recycling and Refuse Services — to organize the event.