Earthquake provisions stashed underground at Stanford; quake-damaged dorms being rebuilt for fall

The next time a major earthquake shakes up the campus, the Stanford community will be a bit more prepared.

Residence halls that suffered major damage are just about rebuilt, stronger than before. And if food supplies fail, there will be hidden provisions underground.

By Aug. 31, officials expect to have finished installing a dozen custom-made fiberglass "holds" in scattered sites near student residences. They are five feet high and nine feet in diameter, and will be full of tools, medical supplies and packaged MRE's — meals ready to eat.

"We have 8,500 students living on campus, and we feel responsible for them," explained Health and Safety Systems Coordinator Barbara Tiernan, who helped direct the project. Her task force was part of an earthquake preparedness committee headed by Keith Guy, director of Housing and Food Services.

"Stanford wants to go a bit further to give them what they need. Primarily, it's for the students whose campus homes might be down in an earthquake."

She said the temperatures of the holds are expected to remain at around 58 degrees, cool enough to store the food for 20 years. There will be enough food to serve 10,000 people for two days.

After that, University officials expect to have regained access to the primary supplies of food on campus, she said.

Other hold supplies include first-aid equipment, stretchers, hatchets, hammers, shovels, flashlights and radios.

Officials are not publicly disclosing the locations of the holds, fearing possible prank raids on the caches. Resident fellows, building facility managers and others know the exact places to dig for the buried provisions.

Next week, signs will be posted in the vicinities of the holds, denoting the locations as earthquake assembly areas, where people should gather after a major quake emergency.

Another part of the University's earthquake readiness work is its massive effort to repair and strengthen buildings around campus, an undertaking that is to cost about $134 million.

The University has surveyed 177 buildings and is preparing to relocate hundreds of faculty, staff and students over the next several years from 29 unreinforced masonry buildings, including the entire Inner Quad.

Four earthquake-damaged Row residences are now being restored and are on schedule for reopening in time for the beginning of Fall Quarter, and repairs are proceeding at 21 other campus residences that were damaged by last year's October earthquake.

The Theta Xi, Durand, Roth and Columbae houses were closed after suffering heavy damages in the quake. All three are having foundations repaired, walls rebuilt and strengthened and fireplaces rebuilt, said Gene Kershner, associate director of Facilities Project Management.

"These buildings really got trashed a lot, and it's lots more work putting them back together again," he said.

The work on those buildings is estimated at $2.5 million, he said.

Additionally, repairs are proceeding at 21 other Row houses that suffered less extensive damage and were not closed. That work, he said, is estimated at $1 million.