Demolition of Cal State East Bay landmark ready to proceed on Saturday

  • August 16, 2013

By Rebecca Parr
Staff Writer, Bay Area News Group

HAYWARD -- Saturday's demolition of Warren Hall on the Cal State East Bay campus has been carefully planned down to the minute, but low clouds or fog could delay things for a short time.

"The implosion will take place as soon after 9 a.m. as safety and weather permit," said Mark Loizeaux, president of Control Demolition International, the company handling the explosives.

If energy from an implosion hits fog, it bounces off and comes back down, affecting where debris lands, he said. So skies must be clear, and that is the forecast for Saturday, he said.

Scientists are taking advantage of the demolition to study the Hayward Fault, which runs close to Warren Hall. U.S. Geological Survey scientists and volunteers have been installing 600 seismometers this week in a 1½-mile radius around Warren Hall and in a vertical line from the bay over to the Dublin area, which will be used to measure the implosion that will mimic a small earthquake.

One of the seismographs will be at Lee Baker's home in the Fairview neighborhood of unincorporated Hayward.

"One of the geologists came to my house and asked if it was OK to place one here," Baker said. "I said, 'Of course.' I'd like to see how much shaking is up here."

Baker was so interested in the project that he volunteered to help place the seismic sensors, which are a little larger than a soda can.

"This is the most exciting thing that has happened in Hayward since the Haywards Hotel burned in 1923," he said.

Warren Hall has been declared the most seismically unsafe structure in the California State University system. The university considered retrofitting the 13-story building but found that demolishing it was less expensive. It will be replaced with a more energy-efficient structure across campus.

When the demolition begins Saturday, people in the area will hear 13 reports, or loud explosions, that will go off at 6½-second intervals to ignite the charges, Loizeaux said. A second sequence of reports will be the actual demolition.

The charges are set so that the building will tilt as it comes down, falling away from other nearby structures, some of which are only 50 feet away.

From beginning to end, the implosion should take 17 seconds, he said.

Loizeaux's advice to interested residents. "Stay home. Watch it on TV."

Warren Hall Implosion
View the building demolition at 9 a.m. Saturday from the Kmart parking lot at Harder Road and Mission Boulevard in Hayward. The Cal State East Bay campus will be closed beginning Friday night until Monday morning.

The implosion can also be viewed soon after it occurs at www.insidebayarea.com.

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