Campus to Discuss Plans for Proposed Helios West Facility

Related Articles »

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Following the decision this July to separate the facilities for UC Berkeley's proposed Helios Energy Research Facility, the bidding period to find contractors for the construction of the Helios West facility opened last Thursday.

The initial plan for the Helios project called for a single facility on UC-owned land at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory site, but after a lawsuit was filed regarding issues with site instability, plans were revised to separate the facilities into a smaller building on the lab site and a larger building in Downtown Berkeley, Helios West.

The state has already approved the plans, and the bidding is part of the process of what UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof calls "putting the pieces in place" before January 2010, when the UC Board of Regents is slated to give final authorization.

"The state of the economic climate (is) favorable for bidding," Mogulof said. "The best companies are coming forward with really competitive bids."

The Helios West building will house the Energy Biosciences Institute. Mogulof added that the nature of the research, along with its location a block from the West side of campus, complements bioscience programs located nearby in the Northwest quadrant of campus.

The old State Department of Public Health building currently occupies the proposed site. The vacant building will be demolished if plans are approved.

In 2005, the city and the campus signed an agreement that was incorporated into the Downtown Area Plan, passed by the City Council in July. In the agreement, the parties recognized their mutual interest in creating an appealing Downtown environment.

According to Jennifer McDougall, principal planner for Physical and Environmental Planning for the campus, the demolition of the old building and subsequent construction of Helios West would be a "contribution" to the city that could revive the Downtown's economy.

"The city and the university have heard each other pretty well about what their hopes ... are about Downtown properties," McDougall said.

Despite the mutual understanding, McDougall said that in conversations regarding university property, the city has expressed its wish that university development be more sensitive to the neighborhood as a whole, and that buildings appear less institutional and blend in more with the fabric of the city.

A pending referendum to put the Downtown Area Plan on the ballot has been mistakenly linked to the Helios project concerning stipulations about building height and the affordability of new housing, McDougall said. She added that the project and the campus are the not the focus of the controversy.

Campus officials will discuss plans for Helios West at a public meeting that will be held tonight at Pat Brown's Grille on campus.

"This development of this site is consistent with the values and principles of the Downtown plan," Mogulof said. "So far this seems to be gaining widespread support ... but we'll see what happens at the community meeting."


Contact Denise Poon at [email protected]

Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Development and Capital Projects
Image Current design for Lower Sproul renovation exceeds...
As the exact design of the new Lower Sproul Plaza co...Read More»
Development and Capital Projects
Image Studies question structural design of Lower Sproul
Studies conducted by engineers in the early design phase of the L...Read More»
Development and Capital Projects
Image Hearing for Lawsuit Against Renovation of Memorial...
Preliminary hearings were scheduled to begin Tuesd...Read More»
Development and Capital Projects
Image Seismically 'Poor' Campbell Hall Slated for Replac...
Dexter Stewart is ready to move out of Campbell Hall. Since...Read More»
Development and Capital Projects
Image Medical Marijuana Group Loses Chance to Relocate D...
The Berkeley Patients Group lost its chance to move its ...Read More»
Development and Capital Projects
Image City Council Endorses Plan for New Strawberry Cree...
After a decade of deliberation, the Berkeley City...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space