University of Nevada Assesses Earthquake Risk - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

University of Nevada Assesses Earthquake Risk

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The Nevada System of Higher Education is clarifying after concerns that some of its student dorms are unsafe.

At this month's Board of Regents meeting concern surfaced that some of the University of Nevada's dorms weren't safe in case of a major earthquake - because many of them were built more than 100 years ago.

It's important to clarify that these buildings have not been deemed *unsafe. They've weathered earthquakes up to a 6.0 in the past, but because of their older construction, they need to be retrofitted to withstand a really big earthquake.

"They're architectural treasures. They're lovely buildings but they need to be cared for. And those two dorms are part of that group of older buildings that need to be not necessarily torn down, but they need to be retrofitted," says Michael Wixom.

The two main dorms under scrutiny right now are Manzanita Hall and Lincoln Hall. Both are more than a century old and the combined costs to retrofit them for seismic safety would be nearly $15 million. That's a tricky problem because the university typically funds dorm maintenance through student housing fees and they are trying to avoid raising rates too much.

They could ask for more money from the legislature, but Wixom says in the past budget allotments from the state haven't covered capital issues like this. "It's a funding gap. It's an issue that we have because our typical funding needs wouldn't go back and include that kind of retrofit."

That leaves donations as the one way to raise the money which Wixom says would be difficult to get.

The issue will be up for discussion at the next Board of Regents meeting in June.

Written by Arianna Bennett
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