Mark Scott, San Bernardino City Manager says it’s time the city relocates its offices and city council dais to a location that’s more earthquake-secure. The current building in not compliant with current building codes.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week the city made an unusual and rare decision to close its city hall because of the elevated risk of an earthquake.
The San Bernardino City Hall building doesn’t comply with new building codes since it was completed in 1972. New codes were enacted after dozens of people were killed and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage occurred after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck Sylmar in 1971.
Monica Lagos, San Bernardino’s manager of communications, said the building is sitting on a precariously earthquake-prone location. The San Andreas fault is visible from the roof of the building.
CBS Los Angeles reports that on any given day the six-story glass building is occupied by around 200 workers and has been known to shake in recent earthquakes. In December the building had been closed for a day when a Devore centered 4.4.-magnitude earthquake shook some workers, however there didn’t appear to be any structural damage to the building.
A month later another earthquake centered in Banning shook the building again. The city’s manager of communications said, “Five minutes later it was still swaying.”
The city of San Bernardino hired consultants last year to find out how much it would cost to retrofit the building to meet with the modern building code. The cost was an estimated to be about $20 million. A huge expense, especially for a city in its fifth year of bankruptcy.
It’s still not certain how the retrofit would be financed and Mark Scott, the city manager said for now he is hoping for a more modest alternative to the problem like moving the city’s offices to a nearby city-owned space, as early as the start of next year.