During time of deep budget cuts, UC Berkeley weighs what to do with abandoned president's mansion
Los Angeles Times
October 4, 2010
Blake House is a lonely, empty place these days.
The Mediterranean-style mansion near Berkeley that is intended to be the official residence of the University of California president has not been occupied since 2008.
Apart from three UC Berkeley social events this year, its grand entertainment rooms are chilly and silent, with most of its antique furniture now in storage. Its second-floor private suite, with stunning hilltop vistas of San Francisco Bay, badly needs refurbishment, and rat traps are placed throughout.
The future of the 13,200-square-foot house and more than 10 acres of gardens in the unincorporated Contra Costa County neighborhood of Kensington are under scrutiny against a backdrop of deep funding cuts to the university and criticism by UC staff and students over perks for its highly paid executives.
UC leaders are trying to decide whether to make repairs at Blake House that are estimated at $2 million, let alone a more ambitious $10-million renovation proposal to bring the 84-year-old mansion up to date.