Berkeley City Council returns to Old City Hall for meetings

Giana Tansman/Staff
Old City Hall, home to Berkeley Unified School District's administrative offices, is seismically unfit and its future is in limbo.

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After holding its meetings at the Berkeley Unified School District’s board room for three months on a trial basis, Berkeley City Council plans to move back to the Old City Hall beginning June 14 for its next scheduled meeting.

The City Council held meetings at the Berkeley school district board room from March 15 to May 31. Councilmember Kriss Worthington said the City Council had agreed with the school district to use its location for three months.

The meetings will continue to be held at the Old City Hall until further notice, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko. He added that the move was always planned to be short term.

“We wanted to look if we had a better space for the meeting, and the BUSD board room looked like a good option” Chakko said.

The Old City Hall is located in Downtown Berkeley at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, while the Berkeley school district board room is located west of Downtown Berkeley at 1231 Addison St. Worthington said some people had worried about moving the meetings to the board room because it was farther from the more convenient location of Downtown Berkeley.

According to Councilmember Susan Wengraf, the Council had been looking to move its chambers for a long time. She noted that the Old City Hall is not earthquake safe because of the concrete ceiling within the chambers.

Worthington added that the offices which were located in the Old City Hall were recently moved because of the fact that they were seismically unsafe. Additionally, the elevator in the building broke down, which made the meeting inaccessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Though the meetings have returned to the Old City Hall, Wengraf said the Council will continue to search for new facilities, as these issues have not been resolved.

“We’re back to square one,” Wengraf said. “We are not planning on staying there, but we don’t have a solution to the problem.”

Contact Kailey Martinez-Ramage at [email protected].