The eerie halls of the old CLA building where the Enrollment and Planning office was located. The now empty and locked building is awaiting demolition because it was built on a fault line and risks major damage should an earthquake hit campus. TAYLOR BOOMSMA | THE POLY POST
After the SSB opening, the CLA tower remains empty, scattered with office remains.
The fate of the Classroom, Laboratory and Administration Building (CLA) remains in a stagnant limbo as plans for its demolition are still undecided in terms of timeline.
After it was discovered that the CLA was constructed with several structural flaws and is no longer up to seismic code,according to California State University (CSU) seismic regulations, plans to vacate and demolish the building were imminent.
Alberto Nunez, a student services specialist, used to work in the CLA as a student and then returned as a faculty member.
“As a former student, I’m kind of sad about it,” Nunez said. “It’s just such an iconic building. If they have plans for it then it’s good they’ll utilize that space, but if not, I hope they keep it as a monument because it’s such an iconic building.”
With the opening of the new Student Services Building (SSB) in January, the CLA has since been closed and sealed off from the campus community.
While the building is operational and currently being maintained at a minimum, it is not safe to be occupied. The San Jose Fault line runs under most of the campus and the CLA building is one of a few campus buildings directly located on the fault line.
Elevator systems are still functioning, as well as the fire alarms and fire sprinklers. “These are minimum requirements and do not require a lot of oversight,” said Mark Miller, director of Facilities Management Services regarding the alarms and sprinklers.
Emergency lights are still in use in the tower portion of the building and remain on at all times as part of a fail-safe emergency system.
The tower is not being heated or cooled, but electricity is still available because the mechanical system is connected to that of the classroom side and can’t be turned off.
Because the mechanical system between the tower and classroom is interconnected, Miller said that it’s difficult to place a definitive price that is currently being paid to maintain the tower portion of the CLA. “But they [costs] are minimal,” he said.
Although the majority of the furniture was reused in the SSB, several desks, cabinets, chairs and other pieces of furniture were still left unused in the CLA tower. Which, frankly, was a mess during a recent tour on Feb. 27.
Most offices were empty but trash was seen consistently on all the floors, in closets and on the remaining desks. Pictures left behind were still hanging on the walls, and supply closets housed forgotten knickknacks.
Miller said that when facilities management has more time — most likely in the summer — it will either work with companies to repurpose or sell the unused furnishings and clean up the building.
Manager of Custodial Services Humberto Arias said they stopped maintaining the building after it was vacated, but custodial crews servicing the classroom side make routine rounds of the tower once a week to check for anything amiss, such as leaks or other issues.
All locks have been changed to prevent unauthorized entry. Miller said there have been no instances of vandalism or attempts to break into the CLA since it has been closed.
Miller also stated that if the building had been located on the outskirts of campus, perhaps more attempts to break in would be likely.
Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya Coley said the definitive plan is to tear down the CLA, but when that will happen has yet to be determined.
“What we’re challenged with is that there is a very delicate way a building like that has to come down because we want to preserve the classroom side of it,” Coley said. “You can’t implode it like they do in Las Vegas.”
Coley made a point that the Aratani Japanese Garden adjacent to the tower will be preserved and said there are little concerns for the classroom side, as remediations can be made to keep it.
Coley is in discussion with the Chancellor’s Office about plans of how, when and how much it will cost to tear the tower down.
Funding is one of the primary concerns. Coley said that both the CSU and UC systems are seeking legislative support for an $8 billion bond measure that would be split and readily available for capital projects for the campuses.
“We’re still trying to figure out what this would ultimately look like,” Coley said.