By: C. Harold Pierce
A large exterior mosaic tile crashed to the ground from the third floor of Russell Hall Monday, leaving district officials worried about the state of the buildings on campus.
The 8-foot wide decorative panel, which was affixed to the guardrail of the building, fell from the east side of Russell Hall before noon. No one was hurt during the incident.
Still, Santa Ana College students are fearful of the aging buildings.
“I’ve never really felt unsafe here. I’ve never had a reason to until now,” said student Justine Cunningham.
Many of the existing mosaic tiles, which are secured by 8 brackets, are missing screws, while those still intact are coming loose.
College officials are regarding the incident as a wake-up call to expedite the renovation of aging campus facilities.
“We need to pay attention to Russell and do what we have to on the short term to move that project forward,” said SAC President Erlinda Martinez. “Time is of the essence– that building is coming down on its own.”
Campus safety officials are assessing the safety of remaining tiles on Russell Hall. The walkway has been taped off to protect passerby from potentially unstable tiles until repairs are made.
Money to fix the tile will likely come from emergency funds left over from Measure E, but an estimated cost has not been figured.
“We’ll find the money if it’s an emergency,” Chancellor Raul Rodriguez said.
The building, which is used primarily for science labs and lectures, is scheduled for renovations before 2015 as a part of the ongoing campus beautification projects.