The “History of Medicine in California” murals were painted in the late 1930s by Polish-born artist Bernard Zakheim, who worked for Diego Rivera. They were painted right on the plaster walls of an auditorium in Toland Hall, a 104-year-old building that, according to UCSF, is seismically unsafe and needs to be replaced.
Last year, the school hired RG Conservation Services (ARG / CS), a San Francisco-based company that specializes in heritage conservation, to remove and relocate the large, curving murals, some of which are fragile and have suffered water damage to have.
“There was no guarantee that this attempt to remove the murals from the building would be successful,” Soluri said, adding that the court had to consider possible damage or destruction of the artwork as a factor in making a temporary hiatus speaks.
In February, three neighborhood groups filed separate lawsuits against the University of California’s Board of Regents and the UCSF in the Alameda County’s Superior Court to halt the ambitious expansion project. They argue that the school’s 30-year comprehensive plan to modernize the Parnassus Heights campus will drive up housing costs and clog the streets in the “very restricted” Inner Sunset neighborhood.
In 2018, UCSF unveiled a plan to expand its already 4 million square foot campus in Parnassus Heights by approximately 2 million square feet. The project is expected to cost $ 3 billion and last three decades.
Together with around 1,200 residential units for students and faculties, the development plan will replace a nearly 70-year-old hospital that no longer complies with California seismic regulations and will have to be upgraded for inpatient care or shut down by 2030.
Groups complaining about the project include San Franciscans for Balanced and Liveable Communities, the Parnassus Neighborhood Coalition, and the Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium. They are calling for a full environmental review of the project to determine its impact on housing, traffic, air quality, and the aesthetics of the neighborhood – as well as possible damage to wildlife in the nearby Mount Sutro Forest.
Soluri said a previous environmental review had failed to adequately examine the health effects of construction noise and emissions near homes.
The Parnassus Neighborhood Coalition is also trying to enforce a 1976 regent agreement to permanently limit the size of the Parnassus Heights campus to 3.55 million square feet.
“This comprehensive plan of Parnassus Heights marks the regents’ first attempt since 1976 to revoke this enforceable promise,” said Soluri. “We have to get an injunction to keep the status quo.”
The neighborhood group further argues that the plan will demolish historically and culturally significant buildings that are eligible for inclusion on the California Register of Historic Resources. UCSF argues that the buildings are unsafe and need to be replaced.
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