State hasn't inspected 3 schools
THIS SHOWS HOW close some of the schools are to fault lines.
Map courtesy California Watch
Sassarini, Prestwood and Altimira are listed on a state inventory of school buildings built before 1976 that haven't been inspected by the Division of the State Architect.
Assembly Bill 300, which was passed in 1999, said that the state had to make an inventory of schools with concrete tilt-up construction and non-wooden frames that were built before 1976 when the California Building Code went into effect. There are nearly 10,000 buildings listed on the 1,448-page inventory that came out in 2002 and was updated in March of this year.
Seven buildings at Altimira along with two each at Prestwood and Sassarini are on the list.
But despite listing the inventory nine years ago, the state hasn't inspected the buildings and hasn't told the Sonoma Valley Unified School District how it should proceed. Even so, there's no money for repairs.
Justin Frese, the district's deputy superintendent, said the state could come out and say there's nothing wrong with the buildings.
"The next step is for an engineer to look at the buildings," Frese said.
Even though the state hasn't inspected the buildings, the 11 structures will be examined as part of the district's master planning process that is taking
a 25-year look at each of the sites.
"If we find something, who pays?" Frese asked. "The state has no money."
The seven structures at Altimira include all of the school's buildings with the exception of the new multi-purpose room. The Altimira buildings were all built in 1966.
The two buildings at both Prestwood and Sassarini, Frese believes, are the multi-purpose room and kitchen at each site. But since the buildings were erected before the state digitized its records, Frese said the district has narrowed the focus to those two rooms because of their ages and their square footage.
The two buildings in question at Prestwood were built in 1958 while the two at Sassarini were built in 1962.
But Frese said that just because the buildings have been listed in the state inventory, doesn't mean they aren't safe.
"They were built to the standards of their time," he said. "They've been stable for the last 50 years. But we will be looking into it."
According to a letter that the Division of the State Architect sent to school districts in January 2003, "Inclusion of a school building in the inventory is NOT, by itself, a determination of the safety of the building. The life-safety performance of any individual building depends on a number of factors, including the location relative to an earthquake fault, previous history of the earthquake performance of a building type, the duration and severity of an earthquake, safety factors that are built into the design that exceed code requirements and other factors."
Frese said the district couldn't use Measure H money to fix any potential deficiencies. Measure H is a $40 million bond passed in November to make the school district all solar and to upgrade technology and other energy-saving efficiencies.
"More likely, we'd look at some sort of other state funding sources," he said.
But with 10,000 buildings on the list, Frese said the problem has been getting a lot of attention lately.
An executive summary of AB 300 says that public school buildings in the state are the safest in the nation.
They exceed seismic standards required for most other buildings. And it says that, since the Field Act was passed in 1933, no school has collapsed because of an earthquake and no lives have been lost.