Iconic East Bay building set for weekend demolition

  • August 13, 2013

By Christien Kafton
KTVU News Reporter

HAYWARD, Calif. — It has stood for decades on the campus of Cal State East Bay in Hayward, but this weekend one of the university’s most recognizable buildings will come down.

The clock is ticking for one of the icons of the East Bay skyline. Warren Hall on the Cal State East Bay campus is scheduled for demolition.

Warren Hall has stood on the campus for 41 years, but come Saturday morning, it will take demolition experts about 12 seconds to bring it down with a bang.

The hall is just now just a skeleton. The 13-story former administration building stood above all others on campus and is a landmark in the East Bay skyline.

CSUEB Alum Peter Bains came by Tuesday for one final visit.

"I graduated from the nursing school in 2010, so we used to always have classes in Warren Hall," remembered Bains.

Jim Zavagno, Cal State East Bay's Associate Vice President of Facilities, told KTVU the building was deemed seismically unstable, but not dangerous for students.

"The building could fail," said Zavagno. "Not to the degree that it would collapse, but to the degree that it would sustain enough damage that it really wouldn't be cost effective to try to repair it."

The building is simply too tall to take down with a crane, so demolition experts will use explosives.

"We're not blowing the building up. We're imploding it," explained Zavagno.

Similar to the 2011 demolition of the old Navy Medical Center in Oakland, experts will use explosives to collapse the building onto itself.

Crews spent the day Tuesday hanging heavy fabric to shield nearby buildings. Security has been stepped up since the explosives arrived on scene.

"From a perception standpoint, anytime you're talking about explosives, you want to be sensitive to that and have heightened security," said Zavagno.

Occasional Cal State lecturer Tiffany Woods said she stopped by to snap a picture of Warren Hall before it becomes part of history.

"That is a landmark. It's been there. You pass by it on the freeway," said Woods. "You catch the corner of your eye. And I've walked past it so many times, I wanted to come around and take some photographs before it's gone."

Workers have posted notices that parking lots in the area will close Friday. The entire Cal State campus will be closed off Saturday morning for the scheduled 9 a.m. demolition.

The U.S. Geologic Survey will be placing seismometers on the ground around the area to record the vibrations from the blasting, hoping to learn more about ground near the Hayward Fault.

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