Santa Barbara- S County

Santa Barbara County Courthouse poses risk during earthquake, study says

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse poses a risk during a major earthquake that could result in collapse, serious damage or even loss of life, according to a new report.

The structure is one of more than 100 court buildings in California found to be "seismically unsafe" or in need of retrofitting. The report was presented to the California Judicial Council's Court Facilities Advisory Committee in May.

Skip Grey, Santa Barbara County Assistant Director of General Services said the newly released study is an update on a report done several years ago. "We were aware of the study, nothing really new for us," he said.

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse was rebuilt after the 1925 earthquake. Grey said it is structurally sound, "It's got a steel frame encased in concrete and it's in good condition given its age."

The real concern, according to Grey are the non-structural elements. "Things like the heavy roof tiles, the heavy stone and stone cast elements, the unbraced interior walls," he said.

Over the years, Santa Barbara County officials have applied for a number of grants, which have paid for the stabilization of decorative ceilings, and removing or replacing of terra cotta roof tiles.

"When we renovated the mural room, we found HVAC equipment that could have fallen, and that was removed and taken out," Grey said.

Grey said the county is doing its best to shore up the building, every opportunity it gets.

"We've applied for a 1.5 million dollar FEMA grant that we hope to hear about sometime later this summer or early fall," Grey said. "We'll get a consultant to look at what's next and what we want to tackle next."

Grey works in the courthouse and said he's confident the 30,000 to 50,000 visitors to the courthouse each year, are safe.



Read more here: herman comes to the santa barbara county courthouse often for picnics in the sunken gardens.






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