Tear It Down

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Even while Cal State Monterey Bay is in a growth mode, people on campus are nearly as excited about buildings coming down as they are about the ones going up.
Abandoned military buildings – decaying reminders of the campus’s Fort Ord legacy – are being removed. While many of the former military buildings have been repurposed, others are unusable because of their age, condition, cost-prohibitive abatement issues, or non-compliance with current building codes and accessibility standards. Campus officials hope the blight removal can be completed in the near future.
“We believe (the cost of) all of our remaining demolition will be approximately $30 million,” said Katie Timmerman, senior construction/project manager for Campus Planning and Development. “What we have been discussing with the CSU Chancellor’s Offce is receiving that money in three phases, over three years.”
She said once the funding commitment is finalized, the university will take about six months to come up with step-by-step guidelines for the remaining demolition. Removing the “hammerhead” buildings – former barracks that stand in a line on the eastern side of campus – is the top priority. The CSU-funded demolition of 14 buildings on campus last summer: 13 in the Dunes area on the northwest side of campus, and one portion of a hammerhead.

Companies bidding on the demolition face a number of challenges. First is abatement. When the buildings went up, asbestos insulation and lead paint were the norm. Now those hazardous materials require special handling and disposal. It’s also difficult for bidders to estimate demolition costs for buildings constructed at different times to a variety of standards. “Some are just quick-and-dirty construction, some are built like fortresses,” Timmerman said. “Going into a project, it is hard to know which is which.” For example, the company that demolished the Dunes buildings this summer previously had done a similar demolition of two buildings on Divarty Street, Timmerman said. The company found, however, that the Dunes buildings had been constructed to a later code, with considerably larger footings that took twice as long to uproot. Despite the challenges – or perhaps because of them – the university expects the project to attract a number of qualifed bidders.

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