CLA demolition prompts break-ins

By Silas Hood, May 10, 2022

The demolition of the CLA tower on the Cal Poly Pomona campus allured many students to explore, photograph and vandalize the soon to be fallen structure, according to various social media posts.

While CPP faculty and staff understand the attraction to go inside the construction site of the CLA tower, it is an active demolition site with numerous safety concerns from unguarded rooftops, loose debris and many other dangers.

Silas Hood | The Poly Post

“There’s pictures from inside the building on Reddit, I mean it’s exciting I can see, but I’m glad they didn’t get hurt, I really am,” said Bruyn Bevans, senior project manager of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction. “Coming into the building, trespassing at night because there aren’t lights … my concern is for their own safety. They could get hurt, cut themselves … I mean we will find them the next day, I get that, but it may be too late to save their life and that’s what I am more concerned about.”

The site is monitored by private security contracted by C.W. Driver out of CPP’s budget, and due to the progressive break-ins, UPD has also joined in preventing students from trespassing.

“We increased the number of security guards and we collaborated with UPD who is putting extra patrols in the area,” said Aaron Klemm, senior associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management.

Silas Hood | The Poly Post

Klemm also said that with funds dedicated elsewhere, there are less funds to design the eventual outdoor gathering place that is expected to replace the structure.

The worksite is a restricted area under the management of C.W. Driver, the construction manager at risk. Once the fencing went up, they became the primary caretaker of the area and those without permission on the site are trespassing, which comes with consequences administered by CPP’s Office of Student Conduct and Integrity.

The Director of Student Conduct and Integrity Jonathan Pettigrew shared what the process is like for students facing allegations.

“We do an evaluation on a case-by-case basis because we are taking a holistic approach to our process … to make the best decision we can to, again, hold the student accountable and of course support the student,” said Pettigrew. “Consequences start on one end of the spectrum, the lower hand could be a warning, then a worst-case scenario could be suspension or expulsion from the university … In the middle of that we have a range of sanctions.”

Pettigrew also shared how part of the determination for student consequences factors in related infractions, something the department has incurred.

So far, the campus has reported incidents of trespassing and unauthorized presence in university buildings, according to Pettigrew, who said the university is currently addressing those allegations.

With the trespassing, there have been reports of vandalism within the tower and while it will eventually be demolished, unplanned damages pose risks and setbacks to the contractors already on a tight schedule.

Silas Hood | The Poly Post

“They have to use equipment to be able to get this (flooring) up because of all the broken glass. It just makes their job that much harder,” said Bruyn.

Trespassing, photographing and vandalizing the CLA tower increased with the reality of the tower’s removal from the campus. Authorities caution safety risks of these actions are serious.

“The damage is one thing, it’s going to happen, it’s if they get hurt. The university will (also) be blamed because they got hurt on a site they weren’t even supposed to be on,” said Bruyn.

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