UC Berkeley considers building residence hall at location of Stiles Hall

Zainab Ali/Staff

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UC Berkeley’s Real Estate Division presented a proposal for a freshman residence hall between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue during an open house Monday night.

The mixed-use building would be located at the site of Stiles Hall at 2400 Bancroft Way, which would be demolished, and the adjacent parking lot for campus affiliates. The Stiles Hall community service agency, which houses the campus Food Pantry and campus veteran services, would be housed in the new facility, along with retail space.

The new building would provide incoming freshman students with primarily double-occupancy residence hall rooms, housing approximately 770 students. The project comes in the wake of a student housing shortage that has resulted in increased triple-occupancy rooms and limited availability.

“Students are finding it harder and harder to find places to live close to campus,” said Rajiv Parikh, campus assistant vice chancellor of real estate. “We want to make sure that we stay current and provide those opportunities.”

The city of Berkeley’s Southside Plan, which hopes to build a more cohesive district, is guiding the building design and land-use program, as is the UC Berkeley 2020 Long Range Development Plan and Physical Design Framework. Both plans recognize the need for more housing.

The proposed 183,500-square-foot, eight-story building is a middle ground in height and density compared with the Telegraph commercial area and the campus’s nine-story residential units, according to a press release.

The campus would partner with American Campus Communities, a private university housing development company, to construct and operate the project.

The hall would be made up of 19 “pods” of 40 students each, designed to create a sense of community, according to Steve Sutton, campus assistant vice chancellor of residential and student service programs. Each pod would include a resident adviser, a study lounge and gender-inclusive bathrooms.

Campus sophomore Hailey Zhou is interested in the proposal because she turned down campus housing last year and chose to live in the Berk, a private housing option close to campus.

“One of the reason was how crowded it is and how they remodeled the doubles to triples,” Zhou said. “The things that I heard weren’t the best.”

Tim Stevens, the design principal for the architecture, interior design and planning firm working on the project, presented the proposal Monday night. Stevens said current campus housing is not up to par, with few amenities and undersized bathrooms. The proposed housing would include closets, microfridges and ceiling fans, all of which would be built in.

“Even though it is still a residence-hall environment, the level of amenity at every scale — from the rooms to the bathrooms to the social lounges to the ground-floor amenity — are a step up from what exists here,” Stevens said.

The project will continue through a series of steps, including soliciting student input from advisory groups and going before the UC Board of Regents for approval, according to Sutton. Construction is proposed to begin in winter 2016, allowing students to move in by fall 2018.

Contact Amelia Mineiro at [email protected].

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the proposed mixed-use building would replace the Stiles Hall community service agency, which houses the campus Food Pantry and campus veteran services. In fact, the program would continue to be housed in the new facility.