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Stanford, FEMA settle 1989 earthquake damage claims

STANFORD -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Stanford University have reached agreement on cost-sharing of campus recovery from the Oct. 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake.

By law directed to fund 75 percent of the cost of repairing damaged structures, the federal agency will provide almost $20 million toward restoration of eight historic academic buildings, including the Stanford Museum and Geology and Language corners, and another $18.5 million toward repair of the west wing of Green Library.

In a settlement reached Thursday, March 10, the university and FEMA resolved all outstanding issues relating to the 1989 earthquake, according to Chief Financial Officer Peter Van Etten.

The agency previously had provided approximately $12 million to Stanford for initial cleanup, various small repairs and part of the cost of repairing the Graduate School of Business. It thus agreed to contribute about $50 million to the university's more than $150 million earthquake bill, which includes the cost of strengthening undamaged buildings to reduce future quake damage. In addition, the State of California will contribute $5 million under its disaster assistance program.

"We believe we are now in excellent position to complete restoration of the campus within the next several years," Van Etten said, citing the FEMA agreement, strong expectations of success in fund raising and a recent bond issue, part of which will be used to finance earthquake repairs.

President Gerhard Casper welcomed the settlement as an important part of Stanford's earthquake recovery. He said, however, that further restoration funds must be found, and that the settlement does not alleviate the shortfall in Stanford's operating budget, which the university is seeking to close over the next three years.

The 15-second temblor damaged 242 buildings at Stanford, closing 20 of them. Six important academic facilities and several other campus buildings remain closed.

Although not spelled out in the agreement, Van Etten said the agency also offered to contribute an estimated $1 million to the cost of restoring Hanna House, the university-owned house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The university's appeal focused on eight academic structures: Building 260 (Language Corner); Building 320 (Geology Corner); Buildings 30, 300, 310 and 370 on the Quad; Building 500A (Terman Lab Annex) behind the Quad; and the Museum. Green Library West Wing was settled separately in December, but exact figures were not available until recently.

The settlement caps several years of negotiations on what repairs were required for several key buildings. Van Etten said that the "attitude at FEMA changed significantly with the arrival of new director James Witt," a Clinton administration appointee who has drawn nationwide praise for greatly improving the responsiveness of FEMA to disasters.

Witt and his staff, Van Etten said, have worked hard to resolve matters remaining from the quake four years ago, not just at Stanford but also with such hard-hit cities as San Francisco and Oakland.

Van Etten said that Craig Wingo, director of FEMA's infrastructure support division, who joined the negotiations several months ago, and his predecessor, Larry Zensinger, "very effectively enabled us to resolve" the Green Library West issue and the disagreement on the other eight buildings.

Key to the settlement was FEMA's new position on seismic hazard mitigation upgrades. Earlier, the agency essentially said it should only support the cost of repairing buildings to their pre-quake condition. In the case of Stanford's many unreinforced masonry buildings, that would amount to shooting epoxy into cracks. Current building codes, however, require that repairs to buildings closed by earthquake damage meet certain standards of seismic strength - a cost FEMA originally was unwilling to underwrite.

Casper said that all Bay Area governments and institutions have received valued assistance from the California congressional delegation - particularly Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Anna Eshoo, Norman Mineta and Nancy Pelosi - and from the governor's office and the state Office of Emergency Services in their dealings with FEMA.

Internally, Van Etten said, an "extraordinary amount of very effective work was done by various people at Stanford, including Valerie Veronin, Tom Fenner and Craig Comartin."

Building by building breakdown

A breakdown of costs and FEMA contribution by building includes:

Of the total project cost, $21 million is for repair. FEMA agreed to contribute 75 percent of the repair cost, or $15.8 million. Added to that are FEMA's contributions toward the new auxiliary library facility, relocating staff and books, and miscellaneous costs, making the agency's total contribution about $18.5 million.

The rest of the cost represents improvements for which the university will pay.

Green West's steel framework is sound, but its hollow- clay-tile interior partitioning system is seriously damaged. This will be replaced with new structural concrete walls running from the basement to the roof. Green West is expected to take 30-36 months to complete, with construction scheduled to start this fall.

The project cost of Language Corner is expected to total $11.5 million, including university-financed improvements. FEMA agreed to pay approximately $5.5 million of the repair costs.

Construction is to begin this fall and take 15 to 18 months to complete.

The project cost is $10.6 million, including university- financed improvements. FEMA agreed to pay approximately $5 million for the repairs.

Construction is to begin this fall and take 15 to 18 months.

FEMA will contribute approximately $6 million of the repair costs. The entire cost of the museum repair and expansion project is estimated at about $29 million.

The university's project cost is expected to be $1.6 million. FEMA has agreed to contribute about $750,000 to the repairs.

Building 500A, the Terman Engineering Lab Annex, is projected to cost $1 million, including improvements. FEMA will contribute approximately $400,000 for the repairs.

Fund raising for quake repair

During the last two years, university development officers have raised more than $25 million to help the earthquake recovery program, according to David Glen, director of principal gifts.

They are now trying to raise at least $20 million more for quake repair projects and $30 million for other restoration and seismic bracing projects, such as Building 160 (Political Science), which is expected to cost $12 million.

Glen said the FEMA settlement is "great news because it allows us to move ahead with the fund raising knowing more clearly what the gaps are on a building-by-building basis. That makes our job a lot easier."

In the case of the museum, Thomas K. Seligman, the John and Jill Freidenrich Director, and others have raised more than $21 million toward the $29 million project cost. That includes the $10- million Cantor gift announced Wednesday (see page 1).

With FEMA's contribution, a gap of $2 million to $3 million remains, Glen said.

The gap is approximately $8 million on Green Library West, $5.5 million on Language Corner and $5 million on Geology Corner, Glen said.

"We are hoping to have the commitments in place by the end of 1995, with pledge payments scheduled to run through the end of the decade," he said. He and his colleagues are working on ways to provide donor recognition opportunities.



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