Berkeley's Memorial Stadium to be upgraded

Updated: February 4, 2005, 2:33 AM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press