Atascadero’s historic Rotunda repairs to begin by spring

The architectural drawings needed to repair Atascadero’s historic Rotunda building are complete, and the city expects work on the building to begin by April.

The city hired Los Angeles-based Pfeiffer Partners to prepare the drawings needed to fix the damage done by the San Simeon Earthquake and to bring the historic building up to code.

The city is now looking for a project and construction manager to oversee the work and an environmental firm to identify any hazardous materials such as lead paint or asbestos in the building.

“FEMA has agreed to pay for whatever costs there are to repair the building back to the condition it was in before the earthquake,” said Russ Thompson, public works director for the city.

When the magnitude-6.5 San Simeon Earthquake struck Dec. 22, 2003, the four-story City Administration Building sustained damage on every floor and in almost every room. Large portions of brick wall have collapsed completely in the rotunda, leaving piles of brick on the lower roof.

The north side of the building resettled almost 7 inches higher than the south side. Exterior walls were left with diagonal and vertical cracks at least half an inch wide.

One crack — at the building’s east entrance — runs the length of three floors. And adjacent walls separated from each other in the building’s upper levels by more than three inches.

“The intent is for administration staff to move back into the building once it is repaired,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the city is looking for a company that has experience with fairly large projects in the $20 million range and has worked with FEMA and historic structures in the past.

Thompson said several firms have called to express interest in the project and that he expects to have a large selection to choose from.

Thompson will conduct a walk-through of the building for interested firms in the first week of November, and applicants will be selected at the end of the month.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.

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