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UC Regents Committee Approves Funding For Dilapidated President’s Mansion

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Blake Garden and Blake House in Kensington. (John Lambert Pearson/Wikimedia Commons)

Blake Garden and Blake House in Kensington. (John Lambert Pearson/Wikimedia Commons)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A University of California regents committee has approved $620,000 in funding to fix a leaky roof and make seismic improvements to a mansion that has traditionally housed the president of the system.

The Blake House in Kensington, which sits about four miles north of the UC Berkeley campus, has housed five of the system’s last seven presidents.

The system’s vice president for budget, Patrick Lenz, told regents at Tuesday’s meeting at UCSF Mission Bay that the historic mansion has been in a state of disrepair for years.

“It’s not been something that has been addressed because of various circumstances, mostly the fiscal condition of the university,” Lenz said.

While the committee approved money to make pressing repairs, it’s estimated a full renovation of the 13,000 square foot home would cost $3.5-3.6 million. Vice chairman of the Board of Regents Fred Ruiz voiced serious concerns about spending that much money.

“I would just add another option. Why don’t we put $2 million in it and sell it and find out a better use for it for the money,” Ruiz said.

Part of the money approved on Tuesday would be used to study if the house should still be used to house the system’s president, or if it should be used for another purpose.

Lenz said they haven’t addressed Blake House’s long term plans in part because incoming president Janet Napolitano hasn’t indicated if she plans to use it as a residence or not.

The full board is expected to take up the issue on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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