LA buildings retrofitting pushed back

Several student organizations in Cal State Long Beach gathered and drafted a letter to President F. King Alexander, Provost Donald Para and College of Liberal Arts Dean Gerry Riposa to make retrofitting of the Liberal Arts buildings a priority.

Organizations such as the College of Liberal Arts Student Council (CLASC), College of the Arts Student Council (COTA), American Indian Student Council (AISC) and Educational Opportunity Program Student Organization (ESO) undersigned on the letter.

James Suazo, English education major and president of the College of Liberal Arts Student Council (CLASC), said a retrofitting plan has been consistently postponed despite the danger that students and faculties are exposed to every day.

“This issue is important because of the mere fact that, despite structural engineering reports that identified these buildings as ‘not meeting safety life requirements,’ the administration has continued to allow these buildings to be utilized,” Suazo said via email. “The letter was written after many student leaders from our college voiced concerns towards the lack of prioritization in retrofitting the buildings while other projects like the $650,000 SRWC (Student Recreation and Wellness Center) fence received the administration’s support.”

This year, lawmakers reduced the university’s budget by $650 million, leaving the Cal State University payroll just above $2 billion for 2011-12.

If state revenues fall, an additional cut of up to $100 million would be expected. The provision has halted the planned seismic retrofitting and renovations and may push back the project by at least a year and a half.

Mary Stephens, vice president for administration and finance, explained that the school is trying its best to retrofit as soon as this summer.

“We have been working on the project for over a year and it remains our highest priority,” Stephens said via email. “We are actively planning for the seismic retrofit of these buildings with the intent of starting the project this summer, which means that the LA 2, 3 and 4 buildings will not be used next academic year.”

Stephens also mentioned that the budget cut will affect the retrofitting project’s original plan.

“Because of further state budget cuts that we expect to be enacted soon, we have had to scale back our original project plan to focus only on correcting seismic and ADA (Americans with Disability Act) issues,” Stephens said. “The re-scoped project continues to address the seismic issues that are the primary concern of students, faculty, and staff who use the buildings.”

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