UC Berkeley students spreading fresh dirt on one Willard pool. Photos: Frances Dinkelspiel.

About a dozen UC Berkeley students were working at the filled-in Willard Pool on Saturday, cleaning up the premises and hauling rich dirt to place on top of the soil used to fill in the pools after they shut down.

The students were part of The Berkeley Project, a Cal group that sends volunteers to the city of Berkeley to help out community groups. Each fall, The Berkeley Project hosts a project event day where thousands of students work around the East Bay. In the spring, it hosts a project month where volunteers help community organizations the last three Saturdays before spring break.

The students working at the Willard pool were loading dirt piled on Derby Street into wheelbarrows, rolling them to the small, filled-in pool and spreading it with rakes.

“It will be some kind of garden,” said Phil Harper-Cotton, a city recreation program supervisor. “Whether it will be vegetables or flowers , we haven’t figure it out.”

Cal students were also at Washington Elementary off Martin Luther King, helping parents paint and put up new signs. They also assisted the Berkeley Path Wanderers, the Fred Finch Youth Center, worked in James Kenney Park, and picked up trash along the marina, among other projects.

Willard swimming pool now filled with mud [01.05.11]
Comment: Voting on Measure C shows a city split [07.01.10]
Swimmers lament today’s closing of Willard Pool [06.30.10]
Last gasp bid to save Willard Pool eyes city subsidies [06.29.10]
Pools majority falls short: closures expected [06.09.10]

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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...