Berkeley High's old gym is slated for replacement with Measure I funds. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Earlier this month, the Berkeley Unified School District abruptly closed Berkeley High School’s Old Gym citing the unsafe condition of the building. The lack of warning meant that several of the school’s sports teams, including its football squad, had no place to store equipment. The rowing team abruptly lost access to its ergometers, the football team lost its weights room, and the wrestling team lost its practice facilities.

Superintendent Bill Huyett apologized for the disruption, but staff, students, and parents have expressed concern over both the handling of that case and a variety of issues related to construction at Berkeley High. BUSD last week responded to these issues in an email to the school community:

A plan for communication regarding construction projects at Berkeley High

• Weekly Wednesday communications sent via e-tree with updates directly from both the Berkeley High site and the District Facilities Department.

• Creation of a Site Construction Committee comprised of staff, parents, and students at Berkeley High School that will meet monthly and will be an avenue to improve communication.

Storage solutions

• BHS has four containers on site now and will add another one to provide athletic storage needs. Football athletes can store their athletic items overnight in the designated storage area.

Football Tutorial Spaces

• In collaboration with the BHS after-school tutorial program, coach-supervised football tutorials have been arranged on select days in the Portables and in the D Building.

Weight Room for After-School Athletic Use

•  BHS planned to create a temporary weightroom in the Athletic Office/BOC after the stadium building was completed and before the new training facility in the new classroom building was completed.  Due to safety concerns, we needed to vacate the Old Gym before the stadium building was finished and we have been actively looking at alternatives.

• YMCA will provide a weight room for athletic use at the teen-center located at MLK and Addison. Set up should begin at the end of this week. We will provide an immediate update to the coaching staff regarding its availability.  We will also continue to explore other options for athletic weight training.

BHS Home Football Games

• The BHS Homecoming football game versus Pinole Valley High School on Friday 10/28, originally scheduled for Laney College, will take place at BHS. Temporary bleachers will be brought in and stationed on the visitor’s side to accomodate the crowd

• The final home football game of the regular season against Richmond on Friday, 11/4 will take place at BHS.

South of Bancroft Construction Report:

• Phase I — Based upon the information we have currently, the stadium building, which includes six team locker-rooms, a training room, and an athletic office, should be completed before the opening of the next school year.

• Phase II — Demolition of the Old Gym will not begin before Jan 1.  We will provide timelines for in future reports.

Community Theatre Renovation:

• Construction to provide ADA accessibility in the BCT is almost complete.  A plan has been made to allow for the BHS Spirit Rally to take place in the BCT on 10/28 and final work will take place after that event.

Superintendent Huyett apologizes to BHS football team [10.13.11]

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...