Lower Sproul redevelopment construction continues over winter break

Tony Zhou/Staff

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While most of UC Berkeley was quiet over winter break, one area of campus, Lower Sproul Plaza, was bustling with activity.

As part of a $223 million redevelopment project of Lower Sproul, two buildings, the Cesar Chavez Student Center and Anthony Hall, underwent construction throughout the span of the break.

In the spring of 2010, students approved the B.E.A.R.S. Initiative Referendum, which included a student fee to pay for the project along with funding from the chancellor. It is scheduled to be completed in fall of 2015.

“It’s going to be frustrating to students right now, but the new buildings will provide such amazing places for students to collaborate and hang out,” said ASUC President Connor Landgraf. “It’s completely worth it to me.”

Construction of both Anthony Hall and the Cesar Chavez Student Center began last fall, continued throughout the break and will persist into the spring semester. Over the break, remodeling of bathrooms in Cesar Chavez took place along with the addition of new flooring and paint in classrooms.

Workers are currently removing asbestos and window glass from Anthony Hall and installing new flooring and landscaping. There are also plans for significant construction in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.

“Now’s the time when the real construction begins,” Landgraf said.

In preparation for this construction, the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union closed Pauley Ballroom, Tilden Room and restaurants in the building, according to an email from Landgraf. The Cal Student Store will be open until mid-February, when it will then be relocated next to Ned’s Berkeley Bookstore across the street. Alumnae Hall, located within the Anna Head complex between Crossroads Dining and Martinez Commons, will stand in as the venue for MLK Jr.

The next significant change will be to Eshleman Hall, Landgraf said.

Eshleman, which is also closed, will continue to be cleaned out until the end of January and is the only building that will be completely demolished this summer in order to meet earthquake retrofitting standards.

“The final review of the designs for Eshleman are happening,” said Christine Shaff, communications director for facility services. “It’s really again honing in on the details … We’re anticipating that next summer is going to be really busy.”

In addition to Eshleman’s demolition, Zellerbach Auditorium will be closed for the summer. Other changes include the new Career Center on Bancroft Way, closed sidewalks from Telegraph Avenue to Dana Street and the relocation of a bus stop on Bancroft near Eshleman to a block upward in front of Sproul Hall for routes F, 49, 51B and 52.

Briana Mullen, Lower Sproul communications coordinator, said she hopes the new buildings will reinvigorate student life and the more than 800 student organizations that use Lower Sproul.

“Students need space to organize,” Mullen said. “Whatever the purpose of the student group, they need this space in order to organize for their organization, whether it be social, service or academic.”

Gladys Rosario covers Academics and Administration. Contact her at [email protected].

A previous version of this article did not mention that the demolition of Eshleman Hall is scheduled to start in early April and will be completed in the summer.