Cal Students on Edge After Seismic Safety Report

Cal students are reacting after learning many of their classrooms and dorms are at a much higher risk of collapsing during an earthquake than they thought.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit first exposed the problem on Wednesday, and the university has also notified all students and faculty.

The report said all buildings — once thought to be safe — are now listed as “poor” when it comes to seismic performance.

“It’s unpredictable,” UC Berkeley student Emma McGinness said. “We can’t exactly determine when the earthquake will hit.”

The Hayward Fault, which runs underneath the UC Berkeley campus, is long overdue for a powerful earthquake.

McGinness, a sophomore, is worried she won’t be able to depend on the walls and the ceilings of her Stern Hall dorm room.

“It feels kind of like a lodge,” she said. “It’s old.”

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit first obtained the report that shows 68 buildings on campus at a higher risk of failure during an earthquake than previously thought.

Six buildings received a “very poor” rating. They include the busy Moffitt Library, packed with freshmen like Seennam Shah, who prefers to study there.

“I hope it doesn’t collapse because I know this is one of the well-loved libraries on campus,” Shah said.

Another building that scored “very poor” is Wellman Hall, where Professor George Roddrick has a lab.

“These reports make it very clear what the problems are and what needs to be fixed,” Roddrick said. “It’s just expensive.”

The university said it will cost $1 billion to get all the buildings earthquake ready.

Experts now have to figure out whether to retrofit, replace or vacate the problematic buildings. The university said it also needs to work with the University of California Office of the President to find out which buildings get prioritized because there is not enough money to fix them all.

This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Students-on-Edge-After-Report-Shows-UC-Berkeley-Buildings-Seriously-At-Risk-of-Collapsing-558751051.html.

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