December 2013

Rutter Center to be Renovated Just Seven Years After it was Built

Keith Burbank

Starting next spring, the University of California, San Francisco will be making improvements to its William J. Rutter Center. The building, located at 1675 Owens Street in Mission Bay, opened just seven years ago. According to Craig Peterson, UCSF's associate director of capital programs, the renovation wasn't prompted by any particular problem.

“We're not faced with building-wide mold issues,” Peterson said. Instead, the work will address various flaws caused by different designers, and from the construction itself. “None of the issues were related to Legoretta + Legoretta, the executive design architect, and, in fact, they are now involved in assuring that the building's design integrity is maintained in the remedy,” Peterson added. The university also wants to take advantage of new materials “and refresh things,” he said.

The most significant work will be directed at the nearly 7,000 member Bakar Fitness Center. “We'll be replacing the pool lighting and conduit with new energy-efficient LED lighting,” said Peterson. “We'll improve the waterproofing membrane and resurface the deck around the pool.” In addition, the university will modify the building's mechanical systems to reduce heating and cooling costs. And it will repair the stairs in the Rutter Center parking garage. It's a “behind the walls” reconstruction, Peterson said.

Mission Bay resident Shaun O'Brien, who was on his way to use the center's climbing wall, was disappointed to learn about the repairs from a View reporter, but wasn't surprised. O'Brien said he's familiar with other buildings, though not necessarily in Mission Bay, that have needed repairs as soon as they were opened.

“If they're going to make improvements” the quicker the better, said Collin Spencer, an Oakland resident who is a Center member, and who received an email from UCSF about the impending work.

The renovation will occur over two phases. From March 1 to May 30, 2014 work will be done on the outdoor pool and deck, pool staircase, exterior wall, parking garage staircase, and a climbing wall deck. At the same time the university will enclose the parking garage's eighth floor lobby. During the repairs the outdoor pool and deck, pool staircase, racquetball court, game room, Bernadett Lounge and climbing wall and grass area will be closed.

From June 15 to August 24, 2014 the second phase of the work will be done. The shower drainage system in the fitness center will be overhauled, with new tiles in the showers. The ventilation system in the locker rooms and indoor pool will be reconstructed, and the indoor pool's ceiling will be repaired. From June 15 to July 20 the women's showers and restrooms will be closed, with the men's showers closed from July 21 to August 24. Showers, restrooms and vanities will be setup on the fourth floor during this time. During this second phase, the indoor pool, family locker room, Pilates studio, massage rooms and game room will also be closed.

The Rutter Center was designed in 2002 by the Mexican architectural firm Legorreta + Legoretta, which is peer reviewing the new work. “Without their help, the signature building wouldn't be what it is,” Peterson said.

The Bakar Fitness and Recreation Center opened in 2005 at a cost of $69.6 million. Toward that sum, gifts to the university accounted for $60 million, while $9.6 million came from campus funds. The Rutter Center also hosts a conference center as well as catering services and cafe.

For more information about the planned improvements, visit

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