A newly constructed Nurses' dorm circa 1920.

53 Year-old Residence Hall Bows to Earthquake Standards

The campus is about to lose one of its oldest structures.

A seismic study done during the summer at the Chancellor's request resulted in the finding that the 610 Parnassus Residence Hall "would not perform satisfactorily in even a modest earthquake."

Destruction of Building Immediate plans for the 610 dorm, according to Herbert Fifield, campus architect, are for destruction of the building within ninety days and the creation of a park in its place.

Long range plans are undecided but a new dorm definitely won't be constructed at the corner lot of Third and Parnassus. A firm was selected recently to make feasibility studies for future student housing.

San Andreas Fault The firm of Pregnoff, Matheu, Beebe and Kellam studied the Parnassus Residence Hall in August for its inherent resistance to the lateral forces prescribed by the 1970 Uniform Building Code and reported "considering the proximity of the site to the San Andreas fault zone our investigation leads us to conclude that the possible ground shaking at the site may well produce catastrophic results."

Two weeks after the report was completed all residents were asked to move. The mailroom, which was set up in the basement, was relocated in a sturdier building.

Built in 1919 The Residence Hall, which was completed in the fall of 1919, has suffered from decreased popularity since the dormitories on top of Millberry Union were opened.

In recent years the 610 dorm has housed more memories than students, due in part, to new living styles. According to Ken Johnson, head of housing and resident halls, the policy has been to offer residents of the 610 dorm first chance to move into a vacancy at the newer, larger dorms of Millberry Union. That policy and unenforced term-leases has caused the occupancy level of the 610 dorm to be rather below capacity in recent years.

Splendid Design

The Parnassus Residence Hall has served the campus since 1919 when the first residents were nursing students who, judging by the year book of that semester, shared the excitement of a new dormitory with the reduction of their work schedules to eight hours a day and six days a week.

The California Alumni Fortnightly, in its April 17, 1920 issue, stated that the new nurse's building is of "splendid architectural design and modern construction. It's equipment is in every respect adequate for its purpose. It provides for the housing of one hundred and thirty-five pupils and ten supervisory nurses."

Tiny and Cramped

On a recent tour of the 610 dorm remnant furniture could still be seen in the first floor lounge — some large over-stuffed chairs and a few scattered wooden-tables. Stepping out of the building's tiny, six capacity elevator on the seventh floor one comes upon the community kitchen (the only kitchen in the building), more lounges and a magnificent auditorium with stage. The walls are bare and on the hardwood floor sit two hospital beds and a pool table.

The view from some of the tiny, cramped residence rooms is inspiring — it extends north to the hills of Marin and west to the ocean. Unfortunately because of efficiently designed modern buildings new dorms will not afford views like this — Such is the reality of a growing campus.