Stanford finding homes for displaced students; classes resumed in full; some buildings remain closed

Twenty-three of the approximately 240 major buildings on the Stanford campus remain closed indefinitely as because of damage sustained in the Oct. 17 earthquake.

Access is still restricted to brief visits in several additional buildings, University officials said.

All classes were back in session on Monday.

Approximately 150 students in 12 residences are still displaced from their rooms and have found temporary on-campus housing.

Three of the residences previously listed as closed or limited access were opened over the weekend. Four others possibly will open next week. Four more are still undergoing inspection, one of which is likely to be closed indefinitely. Four remaining houses will be closed at least fall quarter and probably longer.

The university is arranging long-term accommodations on campus for all displaced students.

Further information on housing can be obtained from a "hot line" at 725-2810.

As of Friday evening, locations had been found for many classes regularly scheduled in buildings that now are closed, according to Registrar Sally Mahoney. Rooms for the remaining classes will be found over the weekend, she said. Students will learn where to go for class from notices posted on the classroom doors and at a variety of other campus locations. Classroom information also will be available by calling an information hotline at 723-7233.

The first floor of the Graduate School of Business, where most classrooms are located, has been reopened and most classes will be held in their usual rooms. The rest of the building remains closed pending further structural assessment.

In a letter to all faculty, Stanford President Donald Kennedy and Provost James Rosse said that there is "a considerable amount of academic anxiety, particularly among our most conscientious students." They urged faculty to do everything possible to alleviate anxiety and stress among students, 1,600 of whom were initially dislocated from their campus residences by the quake.

They said that merely postponing due dates and exams is not sufficient, and appealed to faculty to be "especially compassionate, understanding and flexible throughout the remainder of this quarter."

Building damage

The student residences that were heavily damaged are smaller, older buildings that were constructed before 1934, when California first adopted building codes with provisions related to seismic safety.

The other serious structural damage was sustained by older classroom buildings: Memorial Church in the historic quadrangle of the 100-year-old university and the Graduate School of Business.

The church, which lost its steeple in the 1906 earthquake, was heavily damaged this time as well, especially in the area near the altar. The keystone - the central block in an archway – was more than a half-inch off center. The displacement could require a major rebuilding of that portion, and the church is likely to be closed for months. The Stanford Museum of Art was also closed pending further structural evaluation.

The Hoover Tower was closed initially because of concerns about asbestos, but it was reopened for use Friday.

Many Stanford laboratories and science buildings incurred internal damage, but one, the Old Geology Corner in the Quad, appears to have structural damage, and is closed pending decisions on its future. The Geology Department will move its offices to double up in the Mitchell Earth Sciences building. More than $20,000 worth of equipment was lost in one biology lab.

The new section of main library (Green Library) reopened Friday after some 200,000 to 300,000 books were reshelved by staff and volunteers.

Despite the damage to the older wing of the library, the collections escaped relatively unscathed, according to library officials. The collections of departmental libraries and the Hoover Institution Archive appeared to be in relatively good condition.

"It's plain that exactly the buildings that you would expect on this campus have suffered some structural damage. ... These are all the structures that were known to be seismically vulnerable, and they didn't fall down, but some of them experienced substantial torsion, and they're obviously going to require extensive work," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said it was too early to give a precise estimate of the cost of the damage but he estimated Friday that it would be at least $ 160 million.

"It will probably take months to come up with an accurate figure," said Robert Beth, director of risk management.

"Stanford will be seeking state and federal disaster relief assistance," Kennedy said.

A program begun several years ago to assess the risk to older buildings from earthquakes appears to have paid off. University officials said. Just weeks after bracing was completed of Roble residence hall, for instance, it survived the 6.9 earthquake.

Initially on Tuesday night, about 1,600 undergraduates were not allowed to move back into their rooms until dormitories could be checked for structural soundness. Classes were cancelled on Wednesday and about half remained cancelled Thursday and Friday as well.

Twenty two teams of engineers quickly spread across the campus to inspect buildings Wednesday morning. They worked all day and Thursday morning, placing notices on the doors of each building, and those buildings deemed unsafe to enter were taped off. Su Schaffer, vice president for administration, said the inspections took longer than anyone thought.

The Stanford University Hospital went immediately to Level 1 Emergency as soon as the shaking stopped Tuesday, and the plan worked well, officials said. The hospital's emergency room treated about 30 more patients in the hours after the quake than they would ordinarily. The buildings in the medical center also fared well, suffering little damage. Cowell Student Health Center reported treating 32 students for minor injuries. No one was seriously injured on campus during the quake.

Volunteers help pick up the pieces

More than 400 students have volunteered to help with the campus cleanup. The Haas Center for Public Service said that any faculty member or student who needs help with book reshelving, sweeping, or the lifting of furniture can visit the center or call 723-5178.