Saturday, February 19, 2005

Memorial Stadium News

I'm not usually one to disseminate "news" in any conceivable definition of the word, but I thought I'd clue my readers into some fun information I learned today about the Memorial Stadium (slash Haas School of Business slash Boalt School of Law) renovations. The following is aselection of facts from a very reputable source, with a dash of editorializing.

New bleachers will be put in (presumably made of metal and not of dead trees), including quite a few with actual seat backs. I can only assume the ability to lean back during games will only be afforded to high-paying fans.

There are zero plans to move the student cheering section from the 50 yard line to the end zone, the corner, parking lot, or anywhere else. Everyone can agree that students are the most integral fan section of the stadium, even if they pay beans for their tickets. Three cheers to the university to giving the best seats in both the stadium and Haas Pavillion to the people who actually attend Cal.

Permanent artificial lighting will be installed in the renovated stadium, despite the consistent whinings of surrounding residents. All efforts (besides not installing the lighting) will be made to be sensitive to neighbors.

No building will occur outside the existing footprint of the stadium.

Contrary to his claims otherwise, mayor Tom Bates knew about the proposed renovations at least two weeks before the university unveiled the official Long Range Development Plans.

The university still needs to raise a lot more money before the project can begin construction, but they are already in the process of selecting an architect.

As a future alumna (in just 91 days, in fact...sadface), I am thrilled that my alma mater is devoting resources to renovating the stadium. I care much less about Haas and Boalt, mostly because I don't care for students who seek out vocational training at Cal, and I'm especially suspicious of undergraduate business students. I'm also concerned that the expansion of these two professional schools will pave over smaller departments. I will need to await more detailed maps before I can completely evaluate this potential deference to the large and popular programs.

I am also pleased that our university will finally be equipped with (rentable! profitable!) conference centers. The National Writing Project (my paid employer), for example, is located off campus but is semi-affiliated with the university and has a 94720 zip code. When hundreds of teachers from around the country come for reviews and conferences, we have to rent out space in Hotel Durant or the Bancroft Hotel to accommodate our events, rather than working on our beautiful campus. We occasionally rent space from the Faculty Club, but their space is not specialized for meetings. The proposed renovation plan will remedy this problem for any number of companies in this city and can generate revenue for the school.

In conclusion, the city of Berkeley lives in a fantasy land.


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