At the end of the Spring 2016 Semester, Wheeler Hall will be emptied and closed for a comprehensive building systems renewal project. The building will be closed from mid-May 2016 to mid-June 2017, which includes the entire Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Semesters. This project, funded by a partnership between campus capital renewal program and the Office of the President general fund financing program, will renew all building systems (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and elevators), as well as the windows and roof systems. Interior finishes, including painting and flooring, will also be renewed in the building, as budget allows.
The units that occupy Wheeler Hall will be temporarily relocated to the Hearst Field Annex and Hearst Memorial Gymnasium. While the campus has a solution for relocating the units, a solution for the 30 general assignment classrooms has proven to be more challenging. Wheeler Hall houses approximately 15% of the campus inventory of general assignment classrooms, including the largest campus classroom: Wheeler Auditorium.
We write to ask for your cooperation and collaboration in crafting a campus solution to this short-term classroom shortage. Over the next few months, staff from the Division of Strategic Academic & Facilities Planning and the Office of the Registrar will be reaching out to Chairs, Directors, and unit managers to ask for assistance in temporarily housing general assignment classes within departmentally managed classrooms and meeting rooms for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Semesters. In some cases, there may be funding available for modest improvements to the departmental space to enhance the utilization as a classroom.
We ask that you do everything within your power to address this shortfall collaboratively. The ability to accommodate this need within our current space footprint will save the campus millions of dollars, not to mention unsightly trailers in your favorite campus green space.
As we continue to face the challenges of maintaining access and excellence, this effort provides an opportunity for our community to come together to ensure that the student experience is second to none.
To propose substitute classroom spaces or to initiate a discussion about possible solutions within your managed space, please contact Strategic Academic & Facilities Planning at Wheelerclassrooms@berkeley.edu.
Andrew J. Szeri
Vice Provost, Strategic Academic & Facilities Planning