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University of Construction at Berkeley?

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FEBRUARY 13, 2013

Even if you’re someone who only escapes the cozy sanctuary of your home to take the mind-numbing beeline walk to class every day, you’ve surely noticed the ubiquitous construction spanning the length of campus. At first glance, it may seem like an inconvenience — a rather huge and irritating one at that—– so we did some scouting on the places you should avoid and some of the pros about the whole ordeal.

Much talk has accompanied the new fortress surrounding Eshleman Hall in Lower Sproul. Besides serving as a temporary home for some homeless people, the desolate hall has been the site of protest activities regarding multicultural retention and minority enrollment. Presumably, like the homeless gentleman who suddenly realized he had a multimillion-dollar mansion waiting for him, these students were given amnesty, as if there aren’t enough do-gooders with loud voices on Upper Sproul already. Regardless of who’s in it, it’s a gigantic pain in the ass to get around — the whole sidewalk on the campus side has been enveloped within the hall, and you have to walk on the crowded side of the street or risk getting run over during morning jog. Make sure to keep an eye out for any new tenants in the near future — or for the announcement of the demolition.

The rebuilding effort at Campbell Hall is something we’ve all grown quite accustomed to — although it’s still rather annoying for the average Berkeley jaywalker to yield to all those construction workers and equipment. If you haven’t gotten a chance to peek inside the fences, there’s a rather banal sky camera that shows you second-by-second updates of how excruciatingly slow the process is.

Meanwhile, right across the street next to Evans, there’s yet another fenced off area — anyone seeing a trend here? — which serves are the headquarters of the Campbell replacement project. It’s not all that bad of a hindrance, considering that it’s smack in the middle of campus, and if you’re bored, you can always be adventurous and sneak inside the site. Remember to wear a hard hat!

Lastly, the construction that has drawn the ire of some students is the one all the way on eastside — at Haas. Considering that the popular perception of Haas is that it is somewhat elitist, moderately fancy and exceedingly rich — all relative to a public school — the last thing it would need is more renovation. The entire front courtyard has been torn up and blocked off, and it’s rather funny to picture Haas as a Gotham-under-Bane-type dominion, with highly dangerous machines regularly patrolling the streets. And besides, we all get to snicker at the business majors who have to get their clothes dirty by walking there regularly. For the rest of us, it’s an isolated situation we have the fortune of not having to deal with.

Collectively, it’s probably not as bad as USC — which has been given the moniker of the “university of sustained construction” — but then again, nothing here really is. It’s an unfortunate part of having structurally unsound buildings and a school with money to blow. But think about it: Would you rather have that building crash down on you while you’re sitting in it or leave for class a couple of minutes earlier to avoid the unnavigable sea of students at peak hours? We choose the latter too.

Follow Uday on Twitter at @mehtakid

Image source: (left-to-right) aspoloDerrick Coetzee under Creative Commons

Contact Uday Mehta at 


FEBRUARY 12, 2013