Remaining CLA classes leave students worried about safety

By Jessica Cuevas, Mar. 15, 2022

With demolition of the iconic CLA tower and its accompanying registration building beginning on March 14, students and faculty members still attending and teaching classes in the structure have expressed concern about its conditions and potential health hazards.

Aaron Klemm, senior associate vice president for Facilities and Management, stated the campus plans to complete the demolition of the CLA building after commencement and renovate the building to make it a more equipped and safer building for students.

However, students like Hannah Kibbe, a communication student, have expressed concerns about classes there this semester.

“It is scary and obviously outdated; it looks like there won’t be any renovations anytime soon, and a bunch of my other classmates are noticing how old the building is and it is definitely concerning,” said Kibbe.

Kibbe added that she has noticed dirty floors, missing pieces of the ceiling and dust, a concern when considering some of the other students have allergies.

Jessica Cuevas | The Poly Post
Jessica Cuevas | The Poly Post

“It feels like a mistake only because I know there is a computer lab in Building 1 and I don’t know why we have to be in this one,” said Kibbe.

Along with students feeling that it is a health hazard, Maha Ghosn, a lecturer in the International Business and Marketing Department, shared similar feelings. Ghosn expressed that it doesn’t feel good knowing that this is the only building that offers lab rooms for her learn by doing classes.

“Not only (do) I teach in this building, but I have my office in the same building as well. It is concerning that the building is very old with the potential of exposure to asbestos,” said Ghosn.

In addition, Ghosn said that the building is not maintained at all, and with old, dusty rooms, chairs and carpets.

Several students and faculty members commented how they shouldn’t be placed in buildings and classrooms that are this poorly maintained.

“Maintenance brings big, noisy fans to dry the carpet out when it is raining. The AC units are so loud that faculty need to raise their voices for the students in the back to hear,” said Ghosn.

Knowing that there has been an issue with the building design is in the back of everybody’s mind if something happens, such as an earthquake could put students and staff at risk.

Klemm addressed that there have been hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance that were never delivered to the building. As described by Kibbe and Ghosn, all the tiles need to be replaced, as well as classroom roofs the school doesn’t receive enough funding from the state to do those repairs those maintenance items are deferred, according to Klemm

“There are many classrooms on campus that have those conditions, and as we get funding and can afford to get those funds, we can create space in the master plan for those who are currently occupied there and we can renovate that building,” said Klemm.

CPP’s master plan contemplates renovating the upper floors of the library and creating additional classroom space that allows students to be moved out of CLA classrooms and temporarily occupy classrooms in the library. This relocation of classroom space would allow renovations to happen to the CLA complex.

On top of current concerns regarding maintenance conditions, others are more concerned about the CLA having been built atop a fault line.

“I always thought it was kind of funny, the pinnacle of our engineering; in reality, the reason why it is sinking to the ground is because they forgot to count the weight of the building when they put stuff into the classrooms,” said Kelsey Coen, a computer science student.

Coen commented on how it is an example of learn by doing, because the university needs to learn to account for its buildings. Coen added that since the first year he was on campus it was supposed to be taken down and now the facilities planning and management plan to start the first phase of deconstruction on March 14.

Once the building is removed, Cal Poly Pomona plans to use that space for outdoor seating, possibly expand the Aratani Japanese Garden and create an open landscape on campus.

Feature image by Darren Loo

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