San Francisco State University, Established 1899, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF, CA 94132

SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#101--March 26, 1999; For Immediate Release
Contact: Ligeia Polidora & Jim Collier 415/338-1665

Big bang propels San Francisco State University into its second century

University to conclude Centennial Founders' Week activities by breaking ground on a new student residence/services complex and imploding the long-vacant, earthquake damaged student residence building, Verducci Hall

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - March 23, 1999 - On Sunday, March 28, San Francisco State University will enter its second century in a monumental fashion. Verducci Hall, a 760 bed high-rise student residential hall that has been vacant since it was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, will be imploded at 4 p.m. Earlier that afternoon, at 3 p.m., the ground will be broken on a new student residence/services complex, named Village at Centennial Square. Sunday's events will culminate Founders' Wee k that marked the University's founding in 1899 as a teacher training school.

A new beginning

Although the demolition will be the more visually dramatic event, the University's focus is on the new low-rise student facility, which will feature 191 units of two and three bedroom student apartments replacing the 760 beds that Verducci provided. In addition, the Village at Centennial Square will also provide 12,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and an accompanying 50,000 square feet for student affairs office space, housing the various student services related functions. The building structures vary in height from two to six stories over one level of parking.

"Building the Village at Centennial Square is without a doubt the campus' top physical project at this time," said Robert A. Corrigan, president of San Francisco Sate University. "It's a breakthrough project and a model of thinking differently. This signals an important new beginning for the University. We're not just replacing living space, we are creating a village that will address many student needs in one location."

The California State University Board of Trustees approved the public/private

development agreement with Catellus Residential Group to build the Village during their March 16 -17, 1999 meeting. Designed by the San Francisco office of Sasaki Associates, total cost for the demolition, construction and financing of the Village project is $59.1 million. Construction will begin in April and is scheduled to open for student occupancy in August 2000.

The University, as well as the City of San Francisco, is facing an acute rental housing shortage, with vacancy levels in the city at one percent or less, which is virtually full occupancy. The University currently houses a total of 1,414 students on campus, or about five percent of its total student population.

The apartment bedrooms will each contain state-of-the-art network telecommunications capabilities, including voice, video, and data networking. All units will be furnished and multiple community activity spaces and study areas will be provided for student use.

Also, a rental structure will be established to ensure that rental rates are comparable with rents charged students at University residence halls.

California State University will lease the project site to the San Francisco State University Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. Catellus Residential Group will be the developer of the project improvements and Catellus Residential Construction will serve as general contractor for the project.

Catellus Residential will enter into a development agreement with the SFSU Foundation to finance, design and construct the project.

San Rafael-based Ecumenical Association for Housing (EAH) will serve as property manager for the Village and will enter into a direct contractual agreement with the SFSU Foundation.

The project financing will be funded by three sources: $48.5 million in tax-exempt Student Housing Revenue Bonds; $9.6 million from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) replacement housing funds; and a Catellus advance of $1 million.

Verducci Hall--a brief history

Verducci Hall, a 763-bed student residence, was first occupied in September 1969. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the building was deemed structurally unsound and was closed. During the next nine years, University officials engaged in negotiations with the FEMA as to Verducci's fate. In May 1998, the University and FEMA agreed to demolish Verducci to build student apartments to replace the beds Verducci had provided.

San Francisco-based Granite Excavation and Demolition Inc. has been chosen by Catellus as general contractor on the implosion and removal of Verducci's debris. Granite has subcontracted the actual implosion to Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI). The leader in their industry, CDI has imploded, worldwide, more structures than all their competitors combined.

SFSU contracted with Oakland-based environmental consultant URS Greiner Woodward-Clyde to complete all California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements on behalf of the State. At FEMA's request, SFSU also had the firm complete all National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements. The initial study done by URS Greiner Woodward-Clyde concluded, "no significant adverse effects on local and regional air quality, water quality, noise levels, aesthetics, land use and growth, public utilities and services, traffic, cultural resources, wetlands, water bodies, floodplains, topography, geology, soils, plant and animal life, or any other resources."

CDI applied for and received approval from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to implode Verducci Hall. Given the building's structural instability, alternate modes of demolition were unfeasible: a limited and unpredicted collapse of the building could occur. Even if the building were structurally dependable, demolition using mechanical means would mean a minimum of six months of noise and dust impact on the adjacent neighborhoods.

SFSU has worked closely with the San Francisco Police Department to inform area neighbors, including a March 10 community meeting at Lowell High School, to which over 15 neighborhood residence communities and organizations were invited, and invitations were posted. The University worked particularly closely with the Stonestown Galleria shopping mall, actually moving the date to accommodate the shopping center's peak business day. In addition, the University has hosted campus community meetings to inform students, faculty, staff and administrators of the project details. A final community meeting will take place on the University’s campus in Humanities Building, Room 133 at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, 1999.

The public notice of the California Environmental Quality Act "negative declaration" ran in both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner on Monday, December 23, 1998. On February 7, 1999, the public notice of the National Environmental Protection Act "no significant impact" ran again in both papers. A "Verducci Hotline" at 415/405-0400, has been up and running for some time.

"This project is the University's largest in its 100 year history," said Jim Collier, SFSU Vice President for University Advancement. "This very exciting project has been fast-tracked to meet the demands for student housing. In addition, we've made every effort to work closely with our neighbors."


Verducci Hall will be demolished by implosion by CDI on Sunday, March 28 at 4 p.m. The implosion process is a very localized event with little or no impact beyond a two block radius, outside of which a noise similar to a 15-second fireworks display may be heard. The implosion vibrations are minimal, (similar to feeling a semi-truck passing by) and last only 15 to 30 seconds.

Because of the dust generated by the demolition, and to ensure public safety, the San Francisco Police Department will close the following streets beginning at 2:45 p.m.

on Sunday:

Streets will be re-opened after Granite cleans them of dust, starting with Winston Drive at approximately 4:30 p.m. SFPD expects traffic flow to return to normal by 6:00 p.m.

SFPD will not allow spectators in the following areas:

Both North State and South State Drives will be closed on the University campus.

Sunset Circle parking lot (at the south end of Sunset Boulevard at Lake Merced Boulevard) will be closed to vehicular parking, but open for pedestrian access. A clear view of the upper two-thirds of the building is available from the circle. In addition, all parking restrictions will be enforced in the neighborhoods surrounding Verducci Hall.

Extremely limited public viewing will available on the parking structure of SFSU's campus on a first-come, first-serve basis. SFSU is encouraging on-lookers to watch the event via local media coverage, or to take public transportation. To help facilitate the public transportation option, the University will run shuttle service from the Daly City BART station between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Limited parking will be available at the Stonestown Galleria Shopping Center. SFSU shuttles will pick up passengers in front of McDonald's on 20th Avenue and drop passengers off at the transit stop on 19th Avenue in front of the University. Return trips from 19th Avenue to Stonestown will run until 6 p.m.

Only three campus buildings will be evacuated during the implosion - the Diagnostic Building (an office building which is vacant on the weekends), Mary Ward Hall, and the Associated Students Children's Center (which is not used on the weekend). Since the implosion will take place during Spring Break, the disruption for students will be minimal. For those students who will be evacuated, the University has planned activities on campus.

After the implosion, SFSU will landscape the site where Verducci now stands.

The University will broadcast the implosion live on San Francisco cable channel 52 and on its web site, at


NOTE: SFSU will host a press briefing covering the details of the implosion on Friday, March 26 at 10 a.m. in the Presidio Room of the Guest Center. Media planning to cover Sunday's implosion are strongly encouraged to attend. Media attending the Sunday implosion will need to show credentials to enter the designated media area on top of Lot 20.

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