Old on the outside, new on the inside, Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium still resembles the Roman Colosseum while offering features that no one dreamed of at its 1923 inauguration.

Designers didn’t factor in the stadium’s location on the Hayward fault, and by 1997 its walls had begun to crack apart.

The new building was delayed by protesters who occupied trees on the site, in an unsuccessful attempt to keep them from being cut down as part of the new construction.

The new design features seismic blocks that can move independently, and a press box on shock absorbers that is designed to sway up to 12 inches. The ground could slide 6 feet and the stadium wouldn’t break, according to engineer David Friedman.

“We’re standing right on top of an active earthquake fault,” Friedman told KQED’s Caitlin Esch. “So this has never really been done before.”

What else is new? Bathrooms — with 365 stalls. Artificial turf. An underground training facility. A promise to make the facility available everyday for multiple users, not just the Cal football team.

Also kitchens. The old building had none. The new ones can churn out portabella mushroom sandwiches, tempura roles and hummus, as well as hotdogs and other traditional ballpark fare.

The new facility cost $321,000, can seat 63,000 people and gets its first football game on Saturday when Cal plays the University of Nevada.

Here are some photos:

The view from the University Club (Caitlin Esch/KQED)

A view of the Campanile. (Caitlin Esch/KQED)
The player's perspective (Caitline Esch/KQED)
The players

And here is a video tour released by the university:

Photos and Video: New Cal Structure Is Not Your Grandfather’s Stadium 27 August,2012Laird Harrison

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