Renovations to LA buildings delayed until the fall semester

Vincent Samperio, Contributing Writer

Three Liberal Arts buildings have sat empty on campus since the summer in anticipation of overdue seismic retrofitting, which was set to begin in September 2012.

Now the buildings will remain empty for another summer, as the project has been delayed until September 2013.

The project, which includes renovations and seismic retrofitting, will cost an estimated $10.3 million to address deficiencies in LA buildings 2, 3 and 4, according to David Salazar, associate vice president of physical planning and facilities management. The project’s estimated price is a sharp increase from the $4 million plan released by Physical Planning and Facilities Management in March.

The upgrades are scheduled to begin in September and be completed in July 2014.

“The buildings will receive seismic upgrades along with upgrades to meet [the Americans with Disabilities Act] codes,” Salazar said.

Salazar said the difference in cost estimates stems from adding more renovations to the original project, which was largely slated for seismic retrofitting and minor upgrades.

The new project, however, also includes roof repairs, window replacements, full air conditioning and electrical overhaul of the buildings.

The March plan had an expected start date of September 2012, so the three LA buildings have been vacated since last summer. Classes were relocated to the Peterson Hall buildings, but the circulation path and stairways along the LA buildings have remained open to accommodate foot traffic.

According to Salazar, the project has been delayed because additional upgrades were proposed and extra time was needed to see the proposals approved. Time was also needed to secure funding for the upgrades.

“We needed more time to make sure we could take on all the upgrades at one time, rather than have several projects planned over a larger timespan,” Salazar said.

Salazar said the buildings’ electronic improvements will include a green, energy-efficient approach, as the buildings will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified.

Their electrical infrastructure will also be revamped in order to provide enough electrical power to sustain new technology improvements. In their current condition, the buildings have trouble providing enough power for all devices and classroom technology, Salazar said.

Along with these internal improvements, the buildings will also be repainted to match the color of the recently painted LA-1 building, Salazar said.

In 2012, the Cal State University Seismic Review Board listed the three LA buildings on their Priority 1 list for seismic retrofits.

“The list is based on campus needs in buildings where renovation is critical and provide a service by getting bond funding to push projects up based on these needs,” CSU Spokesman Erik Fallis said.

According to Fallis, seismic retrofits are given higher priority. He said the plan is to make buildings as safe as possible for students, even going beyond normal seismic codes because California is more prone to earthquakes.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey website, the Los Angeles area has a 60 percent probability of having an earthquake greater than 6.7 magnitude in the next 30 years.

Salazar said the upgrades to the three LA buildings will be funded through university funds and will have no impact on future tuition costs.