Cayucos Veterans Hall is declared unsafe, shut down

What the loss of Cayucos' veterans hall would mean for the community

Breck Smith, Cayucos Lions Club president, talks about how a closure of the Cayucos veterans hall would impact the community.
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Breck Smith, Cayucos Lions Club president, talks about how a closure of the Cayucos veterans hall would impact the community.

County officials officially closed the Cayucos Veterans Hall indefinitely on Wednesday because of structural safety hazards so severe the building is in danger of a roof collapse “if a strong wind blows in the wrong direction.”

The decision was made after the San Luis Obispo County public works department received a comprehensive structural analysis of the building on Wednesday, department director Dave Flynn said.

“The roof is barely held up right now,” Flynn said in a news release. “The walls or roof could collapse if a strong wind blows in the wrong direction or if a moderate earthquake hits.”

The analysis by VerTech Engineering found that the nails holding the roof together are severely compromised and the building has no effective bracing to prevent lateral, or side-to-side, movement that could cause the roof or walls to collapse. The foundation has also begun to fail due to corrosion, according to the analysis.

The structural problems were not a complete surprise. Last fall, the county closed the building’s stage, and over the winter, structural problems with the south-facing wall were repaired, according to Flynn. The county hired VerTech Engineering to design plans for fixing the decks and west-facing exterior wall, as well as conducting the structural analysis.

Last week the county notified the building’s primary occupant, the Cayucos Lions Club, that it had to move out by Friday for safety reasons. The club, which has handled day-to-day operations of the building through a 70-year-old agreement with the county, has already scheduled more than 40 private events and 100 group and public events at the hall through the rest of the year.

The largest venue in the community, the hall is often busy with weddings, parties, and public events that draw locals and out-of-town visitors.

Last week, Lions Club president Breck Smith told The Tribune, “We have the Vets Hall rented out through October 2017. That’s a lot of brides and mother-in-laws to disappoint.”

Flynn said in the news release that the county recognizes the hall’s popularity.

“This is a big inconvenience for a lot of people, which is why we’re working with the community to find alternative gathering places for those who have already reserved dates” to use the hall, he said.

When the hall may reopen is unknown as the county reviews rehabilitation and reconstruction options, according to the news release.