Film on UC's Attempted Land-Grab
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: UC Regents attempt to convert historic San Francisco campus into a profitable private development.
CONTACTS: Eliza Hemenway, Filmmaker, Trinity Productions (415) 205-8280, email: email@example.com, or www.hemenwaydocs.com.
Cynthia Servetnick, AICP, Co-Chair: Save the UC Berkeley Extension Laguna Street Campus (415) 934-5705 Office or (415) 794-0566 Cell, email:
FILM SCREENING of UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE: Closing the Books at UC Berkeley Extension followed by a PUBLIC FORUM to address the history and re-use of UCBE campus. A documentary film and public forum will be held February 24th on the history and reuse of the historic UC Berkeley Extension campus. The campus is nearly 6 acres large and located in the heart of San Francisco. UC Regents have engaged a private developer, A.F. Evans, to convert the site into a high density housing and retail shopping. Their proposal is currently under review by the SF Planning department. UC Regents are seeking rezoning on the campus, which if approved, will permanently end its 150 year history of public use. A public hearing is scheduled by the San Francisco Planning Department for Thursday, March 8, 2007 in Room 400, City Hall; it is the only public process planned regarding the re-zoning of the campus. The group, Save the UC Berkeley Extension Laguna Street Campus, is urging the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to reject UC's commercial development proposal for the site and form a Citizens Advisory Committee to determine the highest and best use of the historic campus.
DETAILS: screening of UNCOMMON KNOWELDGE and panel discussion
Notes: Admission is free. Refreshments are not permitted in the Koret Auditorium. This program is not a SF Public Library-sponsored event. For additional information, please call the above-listed contacts.
Eliza Hemenway’s new documentary UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE: Closing the Books at UC Berkeley Extension is a poetic journey inside UC Berkeley Extension as plans unfold to close its historic San Francisco campus and convert it into a lucrative private development. Filmmaker Eliza Hemenway worked at the campus for over six years. Wondering why UC Regents were closing a campus with a 150 year history of public use, she picked up her camera and began to film. The result is a revealing look into higher education and culture, as well as a hauntingly beautiful portrait of a campus and the community it served. Accompanied by an edgy urban soundtrack written and performed by locally acclaimed musician Tim Barsky and Everyday Theater, with additional music by The Toids. Running Time: Aprox. 30 minutes
Endorsements for the film include: "A beautifully crafted and poetic political commentary," by Ellen Bruno, award winning Documentary Filmmaker, and "Stunning visuals and leaps of insight, this film is as entertaining as it is illuminating. Eliza Hemenway is a promising new talent in documentary film," from Jon Garfield, Media Studies Faculty at New College of California.
PUBLIC FORUM: After the film and a brief Q&A with the filmmaker, a panel including Charles Chase, AIA, Executive Director, San Francisco Architectural Heritage; Mark Paez, Urban Planner and Co-Chair, Friends of 1800; Warren Dewar, Attorney and Board Member, Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA); and Tamara Colby, Urban Planner and Co-Chair, Save the UCBE Laguna Street Campus, will present information on the historic, preservation and planning issues related to the reuse of the Campus.
BACKGROUND: The nearly six-acre UC Berkeley Extension Laguna Street Campus is located near Market and Laguna Street in the Hayes Valley Neighborhood. Laguna, Buchanan, Haight and Herman streets bound the site. The campus's historic Spanish Colonial buildings line these streets. The campus was the original home of San Francisco State University, and its construction predates Golden Gate Park. The campus not only has a long history of public use, but it has always been used for educational purposes. In 1854 an orphanage was constructed on the site and remained in operation until the 1920's when the San Francisco State Normal School was established. The school eventually changed its name to San Francisco State University. By 1957, SFSU moved to a new campus in the Lake Merced area. Soon after, the Governor of California approved an act of emergency legislation that transferred the Campus to the UC Regents. There was one caveat in this transfer: the campus property was to be put to "university uses." UC Berkeley has used the campus for its continuing education program for over fifty years. Unfortunately, during that time, the school neglected the infrastructure and failed to bring the historical buildings up to code.
Despite years of economic boom, renovations were limited to cosmetic upgrades while additional facilities were renovated throughout the Bay Area. UC representatives claim that the campus was too expensive to maintain and bring up to current seismic and disabled access codes led to its closure. UC Regents shut down the campus in 2003 and granted a long-term ground lease to developers, AF Evans, to convert the campus into a private development featuring 450 rental housing units, 5000 square feet of retail space, and a community center. Approximately 20 percent of the housing units have been reserved for openhouse, a non-profit LGBT senior housing developer. Fewer than 15 percent of the total units would be reserved for low or moderate income households. Opponents of the project object to the privatization and partial demolition of this historic campus which has been in public use for over 150 years. They plan to rally prior to the Planning Commission's public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the UC/AF Evans/openhouse project on March 8th at City Hall.
PRESERVATION EFFORTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW: The San Francisco Planning Department is accepting public comments on the proposed UC/AF Evans/openhouse project through March 12, 2007. Send written comments to: Paul Maltzer, Environmental Review Officer, SF Planning Department, 1660 Mission Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94103. A copy of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) titled, "55 Laguna Mixed Use Project" can be found at: http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/planning/55%20Laguna%20Mixed%20Use%20DEIR.pdf
A Public Hearing on the Draft EIR will be held Thursday, March 8, 2007 in Room 400, City Hall. Call 558-6422 the week of the hearing for a recorded message for the exact time of hearing. A request has been made to hold the hearing at 6:00 PM.
The Friends of 1800 have submitted an application to the State Historic Preservation Office nominating the campus to the National Register of Historic Places. The Friends of 1800 is a grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving significant historical buildings, landmarks and the architectural heritage of San Francisco with a special interest in the identification and recognition of issues and sites important to LGBT history and culture. For more information on the Friends of 1800 advocacy efforts to nominate the UCBE Laguna Street Campus to the National Register of Historic Places. See: http://www.friendsof1800.org/ADVOCACY/ucextension.html
Save the UCBE Laguna Street Campus was founded to establish a Citizens Advisory Committee to determine the highest and best use of the campus and to promote the preservation of its historic and public resources. The group has drafted a petition calling for the Board of Supervisors to establish a Citizens Advisory Committee: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Save_UCBE_Laguna_St_Campus and www.petitiononline.com/UCBEsite/petition.html