Damage from Ridgecrest quake shuts down CSULB facility

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The epicenter of the Ridgecrest earthquakes might be over 170 miles away, but the damage from the early July quakes has left the Soroptimist House at Cal State Long Beach in ruins.

"Some support posts are out of plumb, which is now causing some structural integrity issues with the beams in the front of the building," Cal State Long Beach spokesperson Jeff Cook said.

Caution tape now drapes the front lawn of the facility on Beach Drive, and a sign posted on the front door reads, "Do Not Enter or Occupy."

Cook said no one was in the building at the time of the earthquake, and the building is currently unoccupied by any student organization.

"This facility has been negatively impacted by deferred maintenance," said Cook. "There is also asbestos in the facility."

The Soroptimist House was built in 1957 with funds from Soroptimist International of Long Beach, an organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls.

Originally, the building was used a student gathering place. Most recently, it served as the interfaith center for the university. Before the earthquakes occurred, the university was looking at other options for the facility.

"This site has been undergoing an assessment to see if this is an appropriate location for a new alumni center," said Cook.

Cook said the university is weighing the option to tear down the 2,000 square-foot facility and build a 6,000 square-foot alumni center in its place. No decision has been made just yet.

The new alumni center will be named after lead donor, Anna W. Ngai, but Cook said the university will still honor the Soroptimist House.

"The university remains incredibly grateful for the funds that initially built the house and the university has always planned to memorialize the role of this structure in any new building that comes to this site," Cook said.
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