BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — More than a dozen Beverly Hills school buildings in need of an upgrade have been shut down for fear of collapse.
The Beverly Hills Board of Education decided Tuesday to immediately close the Beverly Hills High School auditorium, as well as ones at El Rodeo and Hawthorne elementary schools.
The concern is that the ceiling tiles’ impact, if they fell during an earthquake, would register at more than 40 pounds per square foot.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we need to make sure there’s no possibility that if there’s a seismic event that those ceiling tiles don’t come loose,” according to Dr. Gary Woods, the district superintendent.
State architects spent a year and a half surveying the buildings and determined 14 of them need upgrades.
The district is working to qualify for state-funding to retrofit the structures.
But parents like Margie Walker are frustrated because the district is using resources to fight Metro over a plan to create a subway line below Beverly Hills High School.
“This is not one of those things that Beverly Hills can determine what the project will be for the rest of Los Angeles,” Walker says.
The superintendent says he can’t comment on ongoing litigation.
But the district has faced criticism for not using voter-approved money from Measure E in 2008 for much-needed repairs. The superintendent says the bond money has a 40-year timetable, “so the money is spread out over a long amount of time.”
The district says the buildings have been retrofitted in the past.
It’s now working to get a second opinion from a structural engineer to verify the current recommendation.