It once was the home of prominent Berkeleyan John Hinkel and neighbor to a historic all-girls’ school. Then it was a parking lot. Now the parcel of land facing People’s Park just east of Telegraph between Haste and Channing will become UC Berkeley’s newest residence hall.

Construction began in September on a $70 million, 424-bed, four to six story housing complex. When it opens in the fall of 2012, the building will house 160 sophomores and another 224 upper level students.

The new residence facility will address – slightly – the university’s need for more student housing. Its 2020 Long-Range Development Plan identified the need for housing for 1,600 students.

“The building design seeks to meet the demands of a high‐density program without compromising livability,” according to a university report. “The residential units are located around courtyards which provide usable outdoor areas for social gatherings or quiet study and which provide for outdoor views, maximum natural ventilation, thermal mass and daylight. One of the courtyards is designed around a Queensland Kauri‐Pine, which is identified as a rare specimen tree for the Bay Area.”

It’s not cheap to live in a UC dorm. recently awarded Cal the dubious distinction of having the fifth costliest dorm fees in the country. And the rates have gone up since then. Renting a single room at a UC dorm and getting a meal-plan can run a student from $15,714 a year (Stern or Unit 1 or 3) to as much as $17,000 annually (for the Clark Kerr campus).

A Berkeley photographer who calls himself Dayoflifemojo on Flickr has been documenting some of the construction of the new Anna Head complex.

Plans for the new building do not include renovation of the old Anna Head School next door. The school, founded at 2538 Channing Way by Anna Head in 1887, built a complex of brown shingle buildings on the site in 1892. UC Berkeley took the property by eminent domain in 1955, and the school moved to a new location in the Oakland Hills in 1964. In 1979, it became Head-Royce, according to the school’s website.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...