Berkeley Way West as seen from Shattuck Avenue. Photo: WRNS Studio/UC Berkeley
Berkeley Way West as it will be seen from Shattuck Avenue. Photo: WRNS Studio/UC Berkeley

By Yasmin Anwar/Berkeley News

Construction is scheduled to begin this month on an 8-story complex in downtown Berkeley to house the campus’ Graduate School of Education, School of Public Health and the Department of Psychology.

The 320,000-square-foot building at Berkeley Way and Shattuck Avenue will replace Tolman Hall, built in 1965, which has been deemed seismically unsafe and will be demolished once the new building opens in fall 2017. Tolman Hall currently houses the Graduate School of Education in one wing, and the psychology department in the other. The School of Public Health is headquartered in University Hall.

Read more on the Berkeley Way West project on Berkeleyside.

Dubbed Berkeley Way West, the project will include more than 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and classrooms, offices, open workstations and collaborative space on the floors above. A courtyard on the east side of the building will connect to a pedestrian walkway at the adjacent Energy Biosciences Building. The total cost for the project is estimated to be around $150 million, and will be paid for with private and state funding.

Image: courtesy Berkeley News

The building is designed to meet the gold LEED standard, which is the second-highest level for sustainability certification under the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). It will be cyclist-friendly, with plans for 250 bicycle lockers, shower facilities and dressing rooms.

The project falls under UC Berkeley’s seismic action plan, the result of a 1997 survey that found more than one in three campus buildings required seismic safety improvements. More than 75% of the space in need of improvements has been retrofitted or replaced.

Buildings that have been retrofitted under the seismic action plan include Hearst Memorial Mining, Wurster, Barrows, Barker, Latimer, Hildebrand and LeConte halls, as well as Haas Pavilion, Doe Library, Silver Space Sciences Laboratory, the Archaeological Research Facility and the Berkeley Art Museum.

In addition to the replacement of Tolman Hall, Evans, houses used as office space on Piedmont Avenue and smaller, unoccupied facilities such as the Old Art Gallery are awaiting seismic improvement work.

The Berkeley Way West project is being built on the site of a temporary parking lot, which will close Dec. 20. For information about parking and transit alternatives, visit the Parking and Transportation website.

This story was first published Dec. 2 by Berkeley News, the UC Berkeley news site, and has been reprinted here with permission.

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