Construction of Music Library Plays Flat for Campus Athletes

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As the ground excavation for a new multimillion dollar library is set to start next week, some UC Berkeley students are angry the campus's field space will be further cut down.

The Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, which will be built on the east end of North Field, will "provide additional space and enhanced technological support for the collections and services of the UC Berkeley Music Library," according to a UC Berkeley Capital Projects sign outside the construction site.

The three-story, 28,500 square-foot library is slated to open in fall 2003, said Christine Shaff, a spokesperson for Capital Projects.

North Field, located on the south side of campus between Morrison Hall and Hearst Gym, is used by intramural and club sports teams.

Some UC Berkeley students said the library's construction on the current field affects the dwindling availability of playing fields on campus.

"The biggest problem is the field situation in general at Cal," said Joe Collins, a graduate student and member of the UC Berkeley Men's Ultimate frisbee club team. "When I got here four years ago, Hearst Annex didn't exist, and there was a complete field there. They built on that my freshman or sophomore year, and now they're taking part of (North Field) away."

Other students who use North Field said they were upset they were not notified about the construction.

"It seems like they're building over everything," said junior Dan Weisz, who plays intramural soccer on the field. "All of a sudden fences went up, and that's how we found out about it."

Library staff and music graduate students said the new building will create much-needed storage space, more listening stations and will help the library attract more high-quality donations for its collections.

"If we want to get stuff from famous composers and musicians, we need to have the facility to house them and the areas for students to study them," said ethnomusicology graduate student Francesca Rivera.

After completion of the new building, Morrison Hall will be renovated and turned into expanded facilities for offices, performance rooms and lecture space, said John Roberts, head of the music library.

The music library, which includes rare books and music manuscripts, is currently housed in Morrison Hall.

The library has 179,000 volumes, 32,000 of which are stored off-site because of a lack of space, said Assistant Head Librarian Manuel Erviti.

Not all UC Berkeley students who use the music facilities agree library space is the most pressing need for the music department.

"To me, the existing library is sufficient with the exception of slow computers and listening equipment," said senior Sepp Hammer, a music minor. "If it were up to me, the money would go toward practice facilities. The quality of some of the pianos is ridiculous."

Preliminary work on the library, which was made possible by a $4 million contribution from the alumna it is named after, started earlier this month.

Because of the construction, the frisbee team will practice off-campus at Gabe's Field, which will cost the team $1,300 per year in rental costs and other fees, Collins said.


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