Buildings to stand firm, remain strong
Renovations strengthen old structures
Published: Thursday, October 15, 2009
Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2009 06:10
Despite being located along the Hayward Fault Zone, buildings on campus were found to have overall dependable structural stability, especially with select problematic buildings being retrofitted in recent years.
Buildings such as the Library and Learning Resource, Computer Technology (CTC) and Early Learning centers (ELC) and, most recently, the Liberal Arts Building, have been areas of concentration for seismic retrofitting, Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.
Withstanding the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the campus has remained structurally sound for the past 20 years, he said. And although the campus was unscathed with virtually no damage resulting from the underlying fault, recent concerns were brought to the attention of senior administration regarding earthquake safety.
Contemporary unease of the LA Building in particular and its questionable vigor was addressed over summer and action was quickly under way, King said. Retrofitting was done to ensure the safety of the building until the complete teardown and replacement with the Classroom Building, he said.
King emphasized the importance of having safe and new facilities for staff and students.
"(Retrofitting) helps ensure our safety," he said.
Panels of concrete were installed along the bottom floor of the LA Building in order to share movement during an earthquake and seismically lock the building in place, Department of State Architecture (DSA) inspector Melvin Weidner said.
"The panels give an extra level of protection," he said. "There's a greater level of assurance that (everyone) will be safe."
Administration had a great mindset to not "roll the dice" for another three to four years before it is demolished in regard to the LA Building, Weidner said.
As the campus stands, King said that structurally, it would be able to withstand another earthquake.
"I think we can weather (another) major earthquake," he said.
Though there is no guarantee of overall campus resistance against another earthquake, King said he believes that he can be in any building and feel confident about being safe.
Weidner said stringent requirements force the college as a whole to be prepared for temblor.
In addition to the eventual demolition of the LA Building, the neighboring vacated Humanities Building as well as the Student Activities Building are set to come down to make way for replacements, King said.
Before any further construction is affirmed and plans are carried out, however, seismic trenches are dug around campus for geologists to examine samples from the soil layers, he said. Reports are then reviewed by the DSA before deeming the grounds safe enough for constructing new buildings.
The LA Building, Library (which was almost completely demolished before being rebuilt and reinforced), CTC and ELC have all been seismically retrofit as part of the college's Facilities Master Plan, King said.
Although those buildings needs were met as far as seismic retrofitting, the a 2008 Facilities Master Plan report by design firm Perkins + Will also states that corresponding buildings still require modifications.
Built in 1963, the Music Building has inadequate plywood shear walls in the wooded portion and insufficient roof-to-wall anchors in concrete portion. Plans to retrofit are set to take place in 2011, King said.
Divided into two parts, the Physical Sciences Building, with its laboratory rooms half built in 1954 and its lecture rooms half built in 1973, has K-braced frames that are scanty in the longitudinal direction and no lateral bracing at exterior walls with windows. The lay in tile ceilings are also not secured. There is no set date on start and completion, King said.
The Women's Locker Room, built in 1961, lacks proper locker anchorage.
Built in 1979, the Applied Arts Building has discontinuous shear walls and insufficient drag elements. Modification is set to start early next year, King said.
The Biological Sciences Building, which was built in 1960, has inadequate shear walls, tension-only braced frames, roof diaphragms and wall anchorage. King said there are no concrete plans for renovation yet.
Erected in 1956, the Gymnasium contains inadequate roof diaphragm horizontal steel bracing, diaphragm chords, wall-to-roof anchorage and inadequate connections between walkway and gym structure. There are no current plans for modification, King said.
The Gym Annex Building, built in 1967, has discontinuous lateral load path through glazing/louvers along the north and south walls and inadequate wall-to-roof anchorage connections along the east and west walls. There are also no cross ties in the high roof in the east/west direction. King said there are not any plans for retrofitting the building at the moment.
Contact Brent Bainto at firstname.lastname@example.org