Yudof Gives Final Approval for Plan to Revitalize Lower Sproul

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UC President Mark Yudof's signature became the final seal of approval needed to move forward with plans to renovate UC Berkeley's Lower Sproul Plaza when he signed off on July 13 on the terms of a student fee to fund the initiative, a fee that will continue and grow for years to come.

After ASUC President Noah Stern and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau signed the projects's second memorandum of understanding last month, Yudof's approval was the last necessary step to begin the plans. A $35 fee will go into effect for students this fall and will continue each fall and spring semester for the next five years. UC Berkeley students enrolled in summer sessions will pay $17.50 each summer for the next five years as well.

"I think there are a lot of major milestones we had to hit through the process and getting the fee approval was one of those," Stern said. "We didn't have any doubts that (Yudof) would approve it and we're very happy that the project is on schedule."

The fees will increase periodically over time, but cannot exceed $396 per semester in fiscal year 2041-42. Debt service is projected to end by year 2046-47 and the fee will decrease to an amount that is sufficient to cover rent, building maintenance and operation costs. In 2047-48 and the four years following, the fee can be no more than $261 per semester. After 2053-54, the fee could be increased again, but on a periodic basis not exceeding every four years.

Now that the terms of the fee have been approved, project leaders will be able to secure employees for the plan, such as the project's executive architect. The ASUC is also in the process of hiring its own consulting architect to advise it on the work of the executive architect.

Project leaders are beginning to organize outreach meetings between students and the architect in order to get student feedback and input regarding renovations by December.

"This organizational phase relies on a whole bunch of student input and we are currently working with administration and other students and student government to organize how to deliver student representation to the programming process," said former Graduate Assembly President Miguel Daal. "What's difficult is to think of all possible student interests and constituencies ... and make sure they are represented in the process."

Emma Anderson is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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