UC Berkeley is continuing their plan to demolish Clark Kerr Campus’ building 21. Chancellor Carol Christ announced a plan to build a beach volleyball facility next to the currently existing facility in 2018 as part of an effort to address issues surrounding gender equity in sports.
The Levine-Fricke Softball Field will also get improvements under this plan, according to Christ’s statement.
Building 21 caused alarm earlier this month when a human skeleton was found there. According to director of communications for Capital Strategies Kyle Gibson construction plans have not changed since finding the skeleton on the property.
“The issue is first and foremost about our values, specifically the value the University places on gender equity, including access to equitable athletics facilities for our male and female student athletes,” Christ said in her statement. “We must maintain compliance with the provisions of Title IX that support and protect those very same values.”
According to Gibson, the building was constructed as part of the California School for the Blind in 1928 and has been vacant since 1979. Campus acquired the building in 1982. Legal agreements signed at the time of purchase mostly prevent campus from building on Clark Kerr Campus until 2032, but due to poor seismic conditions, campus is permitted to partially demolish building 21 and replace it with a building of a similar size.
Cal Athletics reached $8 million in funding from donors for the Gender Equity Campaign in September 2022, according to an article on the Campaign for Berkeley website.
Gibson said in an email that campus is committed to providing more equitable facilities for men and women’s teams and to complying with Title IX requirements.
“Through the Beach Volleyball Courts, as well as other projects, we are working to provide existing women’s teams with fields, courts, and associated amenities that are similar to what their male counterparts at Cal already enjoy,” Gibson said in the email.
Gibson added the environmental impact reports for the facilities campus hopes to build are ongoing and that he expects they will be completed later this year. Campus can only begin construction following the reports.
Gibson said the new volleyball facility will include two courts, team rooms and locker rooms, as well as an array of other provisions. He added that campus plans to construct new lighting, scoreboards and an area for spectators to watch the volleyball games.
Current softball facilities will be adjusted to meet size requirements from the NCAA for post-season competition and to have proper competition lighting, according to Gibson.
“I believe that maintaining an athletics program that is substantially proportionate to our undergraduate population is more consistent with Title IX’s defining goal of gender equity and comes with the added benefit of better predictability regarding Intercollegiate Athletics’ programmatic scope and financial future,” Christ said in a statement.