CEQA Challenge to BUSD’s
Berkeley High School South of Bancroft Master Plan


Former Berkeley City Councilmember John Denton exercises his legs in the Berkeley High School warm water pool with help from his son, Josh Denton. (photo: Jakob Schiller, courtesy of the Berkeley Daily Planet)

Contact: Susan Brandt-Hawley
Brandt-Hawley Law Group
Environmental and Preservation Law
(707) 938-3908

Friends Protecting Berkeley’s Resources (FPBR), filed a CEQA suit on Friday, February 23, 2007, in the public interest to enforce environmental laws protecting the historic 1922 Berkeley High School gymnasium and warm water pool. The warm water pool is a jewel in Berkeley’s crown, serving the needs of the community, including seniors, disabled adults and children, athletes recovering from sports injuries, hospital rehab patients, many of whom use the pool for physical therapy.

In 2000, Berkeley voters approved a ballot measure to reconstruct, renovate, repair and improve the warm water pool facilities, including restrooms and locker space. The warm water pool is a cultural and historical resource to the community.

The gymnasium and warm water pool, designed by two noted Bay area architects, William C. Hays and Walter H. Ratcliff Jr., are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. They are representative of early seismic engineering work and are rare examples of an early 20th century high school gymnasium.

Friends Protecting Berkeley’s Resources challenges the Berkeley Unified School District’s approval of the demolitions of the gymnasium and warm water pool within its Berkeley High School South of Bancroft Master Plan. The City of Berkeley and the Landmarks Preservation Commission joined concerned area organizations and residents, including members of Friends Protecting Berkeley’s Resources, in objecting to the inadequate Environmental Impact Report prepared for the Master Plan.

The District was urged to further consider feasible alternatives to demolition that could be developed to meet all or most of the District’s objectives. The EIR did not justify its findings.

The District can feasibly rehabilitate its historic and cultural resources for educational, administrative, and community purposes. Demolishing the gym and pool is wasteful and short-sighted. Voters approved $3,250,000, that can be used for rehabilitation and reuse.

The Friends look to the Courts to enforce state law protecting the integrity and legacy of Berkeley High School’s historic gymnasium and warm water pool.

An application to landmark the Berkeley High School gymnasium and warm water pool will go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on April 5. Susan Brandt-Hawley is the attorney representing FPBR.


Donations of any size for the CEQA lawsuit and landmarking can be sent to: Marie Bowman, 1532 Blake Street, Berkeley, CA 94703
Please note BHS Gym & Pools.