December 1, 2021
Dear Friends of Anna Head School,
Last winter we wrote to express concern about saving the historic Anna Head School, and we greatly appreciated that so many of you signed a petition to ask the University of California to make that vision a reality. Over the past year we have made good progress in achieving our goal, and I wanted to give you this brief report about Anna Head School. With your continued support, we are confident we can achieve our goal preserving the legacy of the Anna Head School.
The Campaign to Save Anna Head School has spent 2021 working to educate the community about the school’s significance, to encourage UC Berkeley to make preservation of the school a high priority to best meet the University’s educational needs, and to inspire individuals to advocate for the school. (Please see our website for details: https://annaheadschool.org.) Led by the Anna Head School Steering Committee, a coalition of interested citizens—Anna Head alumnae, UC Berkeley faculty and staff, current and former city of Berkeley political leaders, architectural preservationists, and neighborhood association members—is working with the University to secure the building and create a plan to save the school. The Steering Committee includes Paul Chapman, emeritus head of the Head-Royce School and chair of the Save Anna Head School Steering Committee; Kit Ratcliff, principal of The Ratcliff Architects, whose grandfather Walter Ratcliff, Jr. designed many of the buildings; Chuck Palley, retired president of Cahill Contractors, which built the modern Head-Royce School; and Nan Warren, Anna Head alumna ’60 and former member of the Head-Royce board of trustees.
In April, the UC Berkeley administration advised our group that they would evaluate three possible ways to restore the Anna Head Campus: 1) Renovate all the buildings; 2) Renovate Channing Hall (now Anna Head Building C) and rebuild Study Hall (Building D) and The Gables (Building B) in a similar footprint; 3) Move Channing Hall to the west and demolish Study Hall and The Gables, which would create a new development parcel to the south of the remaining Anna Head building.
Importantly, our team has evaluated these possible models and suggested a creative model that would also meet the University’s strategic priority of building additional student housing. The Saving Anna Head School PowerPoint is a quick summary of our work and recommendations to the University that you can review on the Resources section of our website. We include a vision of how we can preserve the Anna Head legacy and meet the University’s needs. https://annaheadschool.org/files/inline-files/savingannaheadschool112221.pdf
In November, we were encouraged when the UC Berkeley administration took the important step to secure the three major buildings by tarping the degraded roofs. We were glad to know they are seeking funds to install additional lights and cameras and are discussing installing a security fence. We were pleased to learn the administration hopes to begin a master plan process, including Anna Head School, in the new year.
The Steering Committee believes there is a win-win approach that can support the University’s strategic plans, preserve an important part of the University’s history, and achieve an outcome that would be greeted with enthusiasm by the wider community. The Steering Committee appreciates your support and hopes you will continue to advocate for Saving Anna Head School.
Paul Chapman and members of the Anna Head School Steering Committee
Chuck Palley, Kit Ratcliff, and Nan Warren