Thousands of new beds slated for UC Berkeley students

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Classes start up at UC Berkeley on Tuesday. The new chancellor, one year into the role, spoke out about her commitment to face up to the campus housing crisis, pledging to build on eight University-owned parcels of land.

Forty-two thousand students are settling into often expensive, crowded and hard to find housing in and around campus.

The bright spot is a brand new dorm that opened up for 750 incoming freshman at Cal.

RELATED: Cal to build student, homeless housing at People's Park

One freshman described it as, "Like a luxury hotel. Like it was the Hilton."

It's Blackwell Hall, a new residence hall at Durant and Dana that is getting rave reviews so far for its ping-pong and pool tables.

All told, UC Berkeley has added 836 beds this year on a campus long known for housing shortages.

Chancellor Carol Christ said, "I am committed to doubling the number of beds we offer our students in the next 10 years."

She is prioritizing new housing construction on land the university owns from adding apartments at Albany Village to the north to building dorms for 350 undergraduates at People's Park. She said "I've had conversations with people and they say don't build on People's Park. We have to build on all these sites if we're going to meet this goal. "

A vacant field of sunflowers off of Oxford will make way for the biggest project -- 3,000 new beds in residence halls and apartment units.

Cal is already in the process of looking for a master developer to formulate plans for all eight sites.

Eventually, Cal hopes to guarantee housing to incoming freshmen for two years instead of just for one year.
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