Peralta Community College District selected Ratcliff to design a permanent campus for Berkeley City College. The new $46 million, 165,000 s.f. facility, completed in 2006, accommodates all existing academic programs and administrative space, as well as providing flexibility for growth as programs evolve to meet the needs of the community in a single building urban campus setting. Located in downtown Berkeley, the college benefits from its proximity to local resources such as the Berkeley Repertory Theater, Public Library, the University of California, and public transit.
The new building design includes over 30 classrooms and computer labs; biology, chemistry, and physical science labs; and a 250-seat lecture hall. The lecture and classrooms spaces located on the lower level can be utilized as a conference center for outside entities. Library and Learning Resource Centers, with shared computer labs, are conveniently located on the main floor and are evident to passing pedestrians through a transparent glassy north facade.
A central, six-story atrium serves as the interactive hub of the building and serves multi-purpose needs such as student lounge, exhibit space, registration surge space and pre-function lobby for conference functions. The atrium is topped with a monumental skylight that allows natural light to filter down through the building. Adhering to energy-efficient and sustainable design measures, the building received a LEED® Silver rating from the United States Green Building Council the first academic building in the City of Berkeley to earn such a distinction.