Girton Hall, currently situated north of the Haas School of Business, will be relocated to the UC Botanical Garden in the beginning of January, where it will be used as a venue for weddings, social events, seminars and more.
The hall currently houses a child-care facility, which will be replaced by a new children’s center on Dwight Way that is now under construction. The space Girton currently occupies will be used to build additional facilities for Haas as part of the $70 million plan to expand the Haas complex to allow for the potential growth of the school’s MBA program.
Girton will be divided into four pieces and reassembled near the entrance of the UC Botanical Garden around the weekend of Jan. 4.
According to UC Berkeley Facilities Services Communications Director Christine Shaff, the construction is estimated to cost $900,000, but the overall project will cost more.
“It’s going to mean a great deal for us because we have very limited facilities,” said UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Director Paul Licht, who added that the hall will create more teaching programs and help generate funds.
While the campus administration made the final decision to move Girton to the garden, UC Berkeley’s Capital Projects planning unit initially considered several potential locations for Girton, evaluating the move’s feasibility, the venue’s appropriateness and the building’s eventual use, Shaff said.
Recognized as a significant part of the campus’s history, Girton is a city of Berkeley landmark and is listed on the national and California historic registers.
Designed by Julia Morgan, a distinguished architect and UC Berkeley alumna who also helped design Hearst Castle, the wooden hall was originally built in 1911 in response to a desire from female students for a place for women to gather and conduct activities such as singing and club meetings, according to a Capital Projects Historic Structure Report.
“Once you go into this building, you just fall in love with it,” Licht said. “It has a very historical feeling.”
Originally called the Senior Women’s Hall, the building was constructed along a path overlooking Strawberry Creek. But after the campus football stadium’s construction in 1923 and the realignment of Gayley Road in the mid-1940s, Girton was moved in 1946 to its current location, the report states. In 1970, Girton became a child-care facility.
Licht said the hall will have a rounded fireplace and a bigger patio that follows Morgan’s original design. These features were likely modified during the 1946 relocation.
“We will create a native California plant exhibit around it,” Licht said. “We want to honor the Julia Morgan spirit and design, which was to have this in a native California setting.”
Girton Hall will likely reopen sometime next summer, Shaff said.