Campus's Top Planner to Leave for UC Merced

Contact Veronica Louie at [email protected]





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Tom Lollini, UC Berkeley's assistant vice chancellor for physical and environmental planning, will step down at the end of the month to lead the development of UC Merced as it prepares to open in September.

Lollini, who has worked on campus for 14 years, accepted the position of associate vice chancellor of design and construction at UC Merced, effective Sept. 1.

"It was time for me to seek a new opportunity in my career," he said. "I am a planner and an architect and UC Merced is probably the best opportunity to do that."

"Merced is like UC Berkeley in 1898," he said.

UC Merced officials said Lollini's experience at UC Berkeley makes him an ideal leader as the university finishes its first phase of construction and prepares to expand.

"We think he is really an excellent choice for this position. He is somebody that has the right combination of skills for UC Merced," said Lindsay Desrochers, vice chancellor of administration.

Lollini's departure from the UC Berkeley campus was met with

surprise from his colleagues.

"UC Merced is lucky to get him. I don't think that we expected him to leave the campus," said Christine Shaff, communications manager of capital projects.

As the point man for many of the campus's largest projects, Shaff said that she was unsure how Lollini's departure would affect the campus's plans for Memorial Stadium and possible plans for large-scale development downtown.

Lollini has led a string of campus projects, most recently the nearly $200 million renovation of Memorial Stadium scheduled to start after the 2006 football season.

Under Lollini's direction, the Underhill Area Project-which includes new student housing facilities, a parking area and recreational facilities-was completed in the spring.

"The development of the Underhill area is an example of how community needs and university needs can be met," he said.

Though many of the projects started under his direction are still in their early phases, Lollini said he feels that his colleagues will be able to complete everything he has left behind.

"I have some terrific staff that's capable of taking this process forward," Lollini said.

Looking to the future, Lollini said he is hoping to make a large impact on the first UC campus of the 21st century.

"UC Merced is an idea with a plan that is in its earliest stages of implementation," he said. "I don't have any specific plans but to make it a model campus."

"One of their primary goals is to develop a sustainable campus, and that's high on my agenda as an environmentalist," he said.

Lollini will have his hands full as the campus architect, which includes managing physical planning, designing and construction.

Like UC Berkeley, the UC Merced campus will face challenges to its predicted expansion of 12 miles, spilling over into the surrounding area of residential homes and environmentally sensitive areas.

Emily Marthinsen, associate director of physical and environmental planning, will serve as the interim staff until a permanent replacement is decided on following a nationwide search.

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