Berkeley's Memorial Stadium to be upgraded

BERKELEY, Calif. -- California chancellor Robert Birgeneau
announced plans Thursday to renovate Memorial Stadium and upgrade
facilities for a variety of sports.
The long-awaited plans aim to preserve the character of the
82-year-old football stadium, while also improving its seismic
safety. The stadium sits directly over the Hayward Fault. The plans
also include adding state-of-the art facilities for the football
team and 12 other programs.
Athletic director Sandy Barbour said the goal was to break
ground "as soon as possible." She said she hoped the construction
would only displace the football team for a year and did not
address where the team might play during that time.
Coach Jeff Tedford has called for these improvements to the
aging facilities to help the Golden Bears compete with other Pac-10
schools. Tedford has escape clauses in his contract if the project
isn't completed.
"This is a very positive sign of the momentum and vision we all
share as an athletic department and the progress that's being
made," Tedford said in a statement. "We appreciate Chancellor
Birgeneau's and Sandy's effort and support, and have every
confidence that the stadium project is underway and will be
completed in a timely manner."
The plans also call for a new academic building serving the law
school, business school and athletic department and a redesign of
the area outside the stadium to create pedestrian plazas.
The school did not disclose how much the project would cost, but
the project will be funded privately, the school said. Barbour said
the success of the football team has helped fund-raising efforts.
The Bears went 10-2 this season.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that university documents
dated Jan. 15 soliciting architects estimated stadium
construction-only costs at $120 million. Total cost estimates for
earlier versions ran as high as $180 million, the Chronicle said.