SDSU library, vacant UCSD building at threat from quakes
Universities across California continue to hold classes, conduct research and transact business in buildings that will fail during large earthquakes, and campuses at particular risk include San Diego State University and UCSD, an investigative journalism group reported Sunday.
California Watch reported that Malcolm A. Love Library at SDSU has brittle perimeter columns that could cause the building to collapse in a major earthquake.
The building, which opened in 1971 and dominates the center of campus, has an occupancy of more than 3,500 people.
Officials at both SDSU and the parent California State University system have known of the severe risk for four years, but its unknown whether there are plans to retrofit the structure, according to California Watch.
The University House at UCSD is also at-risk in an earthquake, but the building has been vacated ahead of a pending rebuilding project.
Support buildings that are not generally open to the public at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest are also at risk of collapse in a major quake, the study found. A one-story physical plant that houses water chillers, and a telecommunications building could also suffer damage.
Between the CSU and University of California systems, 7,200 buildings are used by millions of Californians at 33 campuses daily. Almost half of the buildings were built prior to 1970, and university building codes were significantly tightened after the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake caused large, modern hospital buildings to crack apart.
California Watch reported that there is no statewide estimate for repairing dangerous buildings from Humboldt to San Diego. But the cost at the 23 Cal State campuses is estimated at $500 million over the next five years for 15 retrofitting projects.
The report was published by California Watch, a public advocacy journalism program run by the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley.