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UC Village, also called University Village or University Village Albany, is a housing community for students who are married or have dependents. It is owned and administered by the University of California, Berkeley. It is located within the city limits of Albany about two miles away from the main Berkeley campus, at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m). It was previously known as Albany Village. It is also commonly referred to as The Village.
The village was constructed on the Gill Tract, a marshy area at the foot of Codornices and Marin Creeks. It began as a federal housing project for some of the thousands of workers who came to the San Francisco Bay Area to work in various war industries during World War II, especially the Kaiser Shipyards in nearby Richmond. It originally extended across the city limits demarcated by Codornices Creek into an adjacent neighborhood of Berkeley as far south as Camelia Street, but after the war ended and the village was acquired by the University of California, the Berkeley section was demolished and replaced by various industrial buildings.
During the war, the Key System constructed a massive wooden trestle through and over the heart of the village and the nearby Southern Pacific railroad's mainline for the Shipyard Railway to Kaiser Shipyards. It was quickly dismantled at the end of the war.
The original units at UC Village, which resembled barracks, opened in the 1940s and 1960s. They housed many U.S. Navy sailors while wars occurred. After the wars, many workers at the shipyards at Mare Island and Richmond lived in the units. The University of California Berkeley acquired the units in 1956. In 1998 the University of California board of regents approved a plan to replace the older student housing at UC Village with new units. Marty Takimoto, the director of communications and marketing for UC Berkeley's residential and student services department, said that mold, lead paint, proximity to the water table, and proximity to the bay were reasons why the university chose to demolish the old housing.
Around 2000 282 new units were about to open. The scheduled occupancy of all of those new units was to occur in 2001.
The new buildings had a total of 582 units. Between July 2006 and October 2007 half of the units had been occupied by families. Completion was scheduled to end near October 2007.
In September, 2007, most of the oldest remaining World War II era buildings were demolished.
University Village, a 77 acres (31 ha) complex, is located in the City of Albany, 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of the main campus. The development is bordered by Buchanan Street, United States Department of Agriculture research and office facilities, and Ocean View Elementary School to the north. In other directions, University Village is bordered by railroad tracks of Union Pacific to the west, California Route 123 (San Pablo Avenue) to the east, and Cordonices Creek to the south.
The complex has 974 units.
Ecological Stormwater Treatment
The landscape of University Village includes a series of infiltration basins, vegetated swales, and porous concrete to treat contaminants from the first flush stormwater run-off before it reaches Village and Codornices creeks. These natural treatment facilities are designed to remove pollutants like heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and inorganics from the water column through biological processes that include chelation, sedimentation, filtration, biological degradation, adsorption, and phytoremediation.
The complex has recreational facilities intended for families and children. The complex has an after-school recreational center for children, baseball fields, a family resource center, a playground, and soccer (football) fields.
Children residing on the development attend schools within the Albany Unified School District. The local elementary school is Ocean View School, although student placement at the school is not guaranteed. In 2005 Julie Valdez, the then-principal of Ocean View Elementary, said that she was not sure how many students at Ocean View came from UC Village, but she estimated that it was approximately 30% of her school's enrollment. University Village residents are zoned to Albany Middle School and Albany High School. The Albany Children's Center, a preschool program from the school district, also serves the village.
When the reconstruction at UC Village began in 1998, the number of students from UC Village going to Albany USD schools decreased since fewer units were available. In 2000 Lapkoff & Gobalet Demographic Research Inc. predicted that the Albany Unified School District's enrollment would increase by 266 students within the next several years because of the impending completion of 282 UC Village units, a small post-1996 increase of births, and turnover of housing unit occupancy at UC Village to younger families. Around 2007 several of UC Village's housing units had been replaced, and, together with a change in the local population toward younger families, this led to a surge of enrollment within the district's school population.
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Due to the proximity of the University Village to the railroad, the Village suffers from the noise pollution of trains honking loudly at all hours. "University Village is bordered by railroad tracks of Union Pacific to the west" Ibid.
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- Affordable Student Family Housing - UC Berkeley