One year after the quake: Students, staff, faculty are still displaced, but coping
Synergy, sweet Synergy.
One year after the Loma Prieta earthquake sent its chimney crashing through the roof and scattered its student residents, the sights and smells of the old cooperative house are coming back.
Soup is simmering on the stove, the aroma of home-baked bread is wafting through the corridors, and the garden is being hoed for a harvest of organic vegetables.
The only real difference is the address. Pending repair of the "real" house on San Juan Street, Synergy has been relocated to new quarters, "Syn" and "Ergy," in the two Grove houses at the corner of Campus Drive East and Mayfield Avenue.
The 52 residents of Synergy are not the only Stanford people still feeling the effects of last year's quake. Two other Row houses housing nearly 100 students, Delta Tau Delta and Phi Psi, have been moved, as well as nearly 300 faculty and graduate student offices formerly located in closed sections of the Quad, the Knoll and Green Libary West.
The University also lost 14 percent of its classrooms, of which little more than half have been replaced by modular units.
"The quake was very difficult for us," recalls Tom Doellstorff, Synergy house resident assistant. "Students had a difficult time finding off-campus housing. About half went and created four off-campus coops, but it was hard to move and keep our grades up."
Now, he says, a whole new group of students has signed on, and the situation is much brighter. "We've moved around the food service kitchen and stocked it with our foods, and we're doing all sorts of funky decorating with posters and plants. There's even talk of getting ducks or a miniature pig."
Phi Psi, a coop housing 54 students, has been renamed the Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF, for short) and moved to the former Alpha Delt house, near Lake Lagunita. Delta Tau Delta, a fraternity housing 39 students, now is located at 553 Mayfield.
Two other residences, the Mirrielees apartments and the old dependable Manzanita Park trailers, have been reconfigured to house undergraduates, after several years of graduate student service.
"Among undergraduates, the (housing) draw results remained fairly stable last year after the quake," said Bill Georges, assistant director of the Stanford Housing Center. "All of the coops remained popular, even though they were relocated. They've done a wonderful job of organizing and staying enthusiastic."
Graduate students have had a tougher time of it. 'There are about 45 fewer spaces for graduate students now, partly because the construction of Kimball Hall meant the removal of some trailers, and partly because the quake forced us to assign undergraduates there," Georges says.
Still, he added, 'This year we were able to assign most graduate students who were willing to live anywhere on campus. Only a small number are still seeking assignment."
More serious has been the loss of office space on campus. The closure of Geology Corner, for example, displaced about 50 graduate students and nine faculty members. Most of the faculty have been moved to the Mitchell Earth Sciences building; the graduate students are squeezed into modular office units on Roble Field.
"Things are extremely crowded," said Ruth SIoan, assistant dean in the School of Earth Sciences. "We haven't even gotten all of our stuff out of Geology Comer, because we lack the space to put things."
The School of Humanities and Sciences also has been fragmented. Seven English Department faculty members and two graduate students from Building 300 have been doubled up with their colleagues in Building 50, on the Inner Quad.
Seven faculty and staff members from Stanford's Program in Values. Technology, Science and Society, once housed in Building 370 on the Quad, have been moved to modular offices near Forsythe Hall. About 20 faculty and graduate students from the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, housed in the Knoll, have been moved to trailers nearby.
Among the hardest hit people are the 150 faculty and graduate students who worked in Language Comer. French and Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, and Slavic Languages and Literatures have been moved to faraway modular office units in the Wilbur parking lot, as have the programs in Freshmen English, Modern Thought and Literature, and African and Afro-American Studies.
Richard Schupbach, chairman of Slavic languages and literatures, laughs when he thinks about how he and his colleagues used to complain about their old drafty offices in the Quad.
"The sentimental value of that building has gone up, there is no doubt about it," said Schupbach, who now teaches his third-year Russian students in his office, for lack of classroom space.
"In Building 260 you could always find nooks and crannies for teaching. Here we just have an overflow of courses. More and more of our courses are being taught in the library — and I feel the library should be open for people who want to use it."
Still, he said, "I'm surprised it has worked out as well as it has. We have purchased a department bicycle, and we teach most of our classes here in the modulars which helps, because it is an inconvenience to go to the central campus from here. There is a sense of separation, no doubt, but at least we're not out here alone."
About 25 staff members from Green Library West have been placed in modular offices on Galvez Mall, while 20 staff members from Stanford's Office of Planning and Management, formerly housed in Building 310, have been spread out to opposite ends of the campus, in the Serra Complex and in Redwood Hall.
"We have lost a total sense of camaraderie," said staff associate Irene Kennedy. "Everyone is an independent entity, as opposed to before, when we shared ideas. It has made the work more difficult."
Another person whose job has been made more difficult by the quake is Jack Farrell, Stanford's acting registrar. One of Farrell's responsibilities is to assign classroom space — and these days there isn't as much to go around.
"We lost 21 classrooms as a result of the quake," he said. "Most of them were in the back of the Quad, and a lot of them were large."
Eleven of those have been replaced by classrooms in the Roble Field and Galvez Mall modulars. Unfortunately, he said, "the satisfaction level with modulars has not been the best."
Professors and students both miss the sloped floors of their old lecture halls, and sound transmission between the rooms also has been a complaint. "We tried an acoustical blanket above the ceilings, but that has not eliminated the problem," Farrell said.
The Human Biology core, which had to be moved to Dinkelspiel Auditorium, has an even bigger problem: The facility usually is used as a performance hall and there are no tablet arms on the seats.
Still, Farrell said, "As far as scheduling goes, we have been able to house all the classes, and the school day has not changed that much. We have not had to move (more classes) to the 8 a.m. hour, for example."
Good news for Synergy residents, who probably could use that time to feed their ducks.