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Berkeley: Student Housing


Earliest Student Residences
At the time of the founding of the University, the state declared that there should be no dormitory system, a restriction that was subsequently removed from the law. In 1874, the Regents approved the construction of eight cottages (Kepler Cottages) for the use of students, each cottage to accommodate ten persons. These were leased to student clubs. Until 1929, there were no University-operated dormitories, with the exception of College Hall, a private dormitory experiment for women students that began operation in August, 1909 under the unofficial sponsorship of the dean of women.

With the increase in University enrollment, the need for student housing became evident. The first overt recognition of this need came in the form of a gift from Mrs. Mary McNear Bowles in 1929 for the construction of Bowles Hall, a dormitory with accommodations for 204 men students. This gift was followed in 1930 by one from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. for International House (530 capacity, with the American group comprising about half that total). In 1942, Stern Hall (137 women students) was presented to the University by Mrs. Sigmund Stern.

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Post-World War II
The first use of public funds for student housing came at the end of World War II. At the request of President Sproul, the Regents authorized the construction of Fernwald Halls in August of 1945, originally designed to accommodate women students displaced from fraternity houses being leased for them by the University during the war. The Fernwald complex was completed in 1946 and in 1965 consisted of Oldenberg Hall (80 men), Smyth Hall (201 men), Mitchell Hall (40 men), Peixotto Hall (77 men), and Richards Hall (78 women). The Stephens Union cafeteria was put into operation at that time to supply eating facilities for the residents of Fernwald Halls unable to return home for the noon meal. In the mid-1960s, the residents had the option of having their lunches at the cafeteria in the Dining Commons on the campus.

In order to meet the demand for housing married veteran students and their families after the war, the University leased a block of 166 apartments from the Housing Authority of Richmond following the acquisition of 124 apartments in the city of Albany. In addition, eight dormitory buildings and a cafeteria in Richmond were leased for single veterans. In 1965, only University Village in Albany remained of this group; the original units were razed and the relocated tract was enlarged to 919 apartments, both furnished and unfurnished.

In 1960, the first two units of the $8.3 million residence halls complex were completed. Each hall had living accommodations for 210 students. The first unit was comprised of Cheney Hall (women), Freeborn Hall (women), Deutsch Hall (men), and Putnam Hall (men). Davidson Hall (women), Cunningham Hall (women), Griffiths Hall (men), and Ehrman Hall (men) made up the second unit. The $4.5 million third unit was completed in 1964 and consisted of Ida Sproul Hall (210 women), Spens-Black Hall (210 women), Norton Hall (210 men), and Priestley Hall (210 men).

Approximately 1,400 men students and 1,200 women students were accommodated in 45 fraternity houses and 21 sorority houses in 1965. Ten privately owned, off-campus boarding houses were University approved, seven for women students (capacity 342, with meal service available for 75 more), three for men students (capacity 144, with meal service for an additional 48). These accommodations were inspected at least once each year by the Living Accommodations Inspector and must meet the requirements set forth by the Committee on Living Accommodations. The first privately owned apartment building built to University specifications and approved for undergraduate women was Howard Hall with accommodations for 36.

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There were two privately owned cooperatives for women students at Berkeley in the mid 1960s, the Beaudelaire Club (capacity 20) and Ritter Hall (37), both of which were University approved. In addition, there was University-approved, cooperative housing operated by students of the University Students Cooperative Association. Student Cooperative Association, student owned and operated, was founded in 1933 and incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in 1934. In 1965, the association was operating five residences for men students, three for women.

Barrington Hall was leased in 1933 and moved to a location on Dwight Way in 1935. In 1939, it became the association's first purchase. Leased to the government in 1943, it was returned to cooperative use in 1950 to house 195 men students. In 1938, the association established a central kitchen and also leased Oxford Hall (for 108 men), buying it in 1963. The purchase of Ridge House (for 42 men) in 1945 brought in the first potential development property. In 1965, it was expanded to include a coeducational two-wing dormitory for an additional 120 students, an administrative office and a central kitchen capable of preparing meals for 2,000 students. Additional purchases of men's residences were Cloyne Court (capacity 156) in 1946 and Alexander Marsden Kidd Hall (18) in 1960.

The first of the women's cooperatives, Lucy Ward Stebbins Hall (78), was rented and opened in 1936 with the help of Mortarboard alumnae. In 1942, the association bought Lillie Margaret Sherman Hall (47) and in 1953, Alice G. Hoyt Hall (63).

By the mid-1960s, the association housed and fed a membership of more than 17,000 men and women students.


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