Buildings Crumbling Around Us

Liz Monroy / el Don

Staff Editorial

Accidents happen, but campus officials should have seen this one coming years ago.

A 200-pound slab of concrete from Russell Hall broke loose and crashed three stories below Monday.

Fortunately, no one was injured or worse, killed.

The pathway below is a high-traffic area for students and elementary school children who visit Tessmann Planetarium on field trips.

Screws that should be holding the panels in place are missing. Others are rusted and can be removed without tools. The building has been crumbling for years.

College officials could not have predicted this accident, but they should have anticipated it. Russell Hall should have been torn down ten years ago.

Measure E, a $337 million voter-approved tax bond that passed in 2002, originally included plans to demolish the aging science building, and replace it with a new facility.

The district, however, appropriated those funds elsewhere, and banked on a $393 million bond from taxpayers in 2006 to make up the shortfalls. That measure failed.

When slabs of concrete begin falling from buildings, it’s time to take facility repairs more seriously.

Fortunately, voters passed Measure Q in 2012, a $198 million bond. College officials cannot make the same mistake with Measure Q that they did with Measure E. The consequences could be fatal.

In the short term, district officials must put student safety ahead of vanity.

Campus beautification and new athletic facilities may look nice and benefit the community, but the safety of our visitors, faculty, staff and students need to come first.

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