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Cal Poly dorm evacuated; no estimate for return as officials monitor unstable hillside

Students evacuate Fremont Hall at Cal Poly after storms

Cal Poly evacuated students living in the Fremont Hall dormitory after the hillside behind the building became destabilized on Saturday, February 18, 2017, after several days of storms. School officials feat that two large eucalyptus trees could f
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Cal Poly evacuated students living in the Fremont Hall dormitory after the hillside behind the building became destabilized on Saturday, February 18, 2017, after several days of storms. School officials feat that two large eucalyptus trees could f

Update: 4:10 p.m.

Students who evacuated a Cal Poly dorm after storms eroded a nearby hillside won’t know when they can move back into the building until Sunday at the earliest, a university official said.

Keith Humphrey, the school’s vice president for Student Affairs, said officials were most concerned about large eucalyptus trees looming behind Fremont Hall.

“The earth around them is starting to shift. Out of an abundance of caution, we’re evacuating the building,” Humphrey said. “Should they come down and hit the building, we don’t want anyone inside the building when that happens.”

High winds remain a concern for the region, as wet and blustery conditions have battered the Central Coast since Thursday. Humphrey said arborists were expected to examine and trim the trees Sunday if the stormy conditions receded.

As of late Saturday afternoon, there was no estimate as to how long the building would be empty, Humphrey said.

He said if the stormy weather persisted, “it might be another day before” residents are allowed back in.

The first-year-student dorm houses 275 residents, though many of them were not on campus because of the three-day holiday weekend, Humphrey said.

He said those who were evacuated were moved into temporary open housing elsewhere on campus.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Update: 2:05 p.m.

Cal Poly is evacuating 271 Fremont Hall residents.

Original story:

A portion of Cal Poly’s Fremont Hall is being evacuated Saturday because of an unstable hillside nearby, university spokesperson Matt Lazier said.

The decision was made around 1 p.m. Saturday, Lazier said, out of “an abundance of caution.”

The university told residents earlier this week to be prepared to evacuate ahead of Friday’s heavy rains. Cal Poly recorded 3.14 inches of rain Thursday through Saturday morning, according to PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.

Fremont Hall houses 275 residents. About 140 are part of the partial evacuation. Cal Poly’s Facilities Operations has been monitoring the hillside and installed a temporary barrier. Several trees were also removed from the area.

Lazier said in an email this week that the university has “sufficient space within its other residential facilities to accommodate these students temporarily.”

Gabby Ferreira, Laura Dicksinson, Melissa Blanton and Mark Powell contributed to this story.

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