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Synergy House demolished

STANFORD -- Demolition crews razed an earthquake-damaged student residence Friday morning Nov. 8, Stanford University officials announced.

Synergy, a student co-operative residence located at 664 San Juan, was one of three "hill houses" badly damaged in the 1989 earthquake.

Another of the three, Delta Tau Delta, burned to the ground on Oct. 11. The cause of that fire remains unknown. The fate of the third, Cooksey House, has yet to be resolved.

Because of the cost of earthquake repair - an estimated $1.5 million each - it was announced in January that Synergy and Delta Tau Delta would be demolished. Over the summer, objections were raised by a group calling itself the Committee for the Preservation of Historic Stanford (originally the Committee to Save the Hill Houses).

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge in August granted a temporary restraining order blocking the demolition. On Sept. 10, the court ruled that Stanford needed to obtain a new demolition permit. That permit was obtained and became effective at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 8.

The demolition went smoothly, according to Sally Mahoney, acting vice president for student resources, starting at 7 a.m. and lasting several hours.

All the displaced programs have since been relocated closer to the central campus. The Synergy co-op is now located at 553 Mayfield Ave., Delta Tau Delta at 353 Campus Drive and Phi Psi co- op, also known as the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, at 375 Campus Drive. Phi Psi had been located in the Cooksey House.

The Cooksey House, built in 1900, is the only one of the three hill houses that has been recognized by university officials as having historical significance. Its fate has yet to be determined.

The decision to raze the Synergy house was based primarily on two factors, Mahoney said: the prohibitive cost of repair, and security and fire hazards.

The fire danger was made more troubling to university officials by the recent East Bay hills disaster. The Oct. 11 Delta Tau Delta three-alarm fire could easily have spread to other houses had conditions been less favorable, said Ray Gamma, Stanford fire marshal.

A last-minute bid to purchase the Synergy House, offered by the Campus Cooperative Development Corp., was rejected because university policy opposes outside ownership of campus buildings, Mahoney said.

Before becoming a co-operative, Synergy housed the Stanford chapter of Sigma Nu, a national fraternity, and later Beta Chi, a local fraternity.


lid, pw synergy


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