Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2016 – 12:15 PM
By Laura Coleman
The California Geological Survey (CGS) gave its final approval of the seismic investigations at El Rodeo school on Monday and determined that there are no active faults at the school, giving the district the green light to move forward in developing the site as part of its Measure E school building program.
In a letter addressed to former Beverly Hills Unified School District Superintendent Gary Woods on Feb. 29, CGS Engineering Geologist Brian Olsen wrote: “The conclusion that there is no active faulting at the campus appear to be supported by the data provided in the referenced reports.”
The final approval comes after CGS performed a second review of the engineering geology and seismology aspects of the consulting reports prepared for El Rodeo. For the supplemental fault investigation, the consultants drilled an additional seven continuously cored borings to depths ranging from 60 to 175 feet. They also provided geologic logs of four additional trenches at the site.
“The BHUSD is gratified that CGS has confirmed our geological studies that there is no active faulting under El Rodeo School,” Board President Howard Goldstein said. “ This is also very good news for the entire Beverly Hills community since a finding of no faulting should give all property owners abutting the El Rodeo area peace of mind knowing that their properties are not located above active faulting.”
BHUSD consultant Tim Buresh, who previously served as the district’s interim facilities chief, noted that the City is a “prime beneficiary” of the work undertaken by the district.
“CGS has embraced our findings regarding the West Beverly Hills Lineament and is now in the process of removing the West Beverly Hills Lineament from its active fault map,” he said.
As a result of the district’s comprehensive seismic investigations, Buresh said that Metro’s regional seismic model directly conflicts with the now proven reality. A preliminary investigation of El Rodeo several years ago indicated it was safe, however, the district was forced to perform detailed investigations after the Metro fault investigation four years ago mapped one active fault zone pointed at the high school and one active fault zone pointed at El Rodeo.
“When the District successfully cleared the BHHS site, MTA spun the message to declare that the District work at BHHS only served to reinforce the seriousness of the MTA fault pointed at El Rodeo,” Buresh explained. “Then the 9900 Wilshire fault investigation accepted by the City seemed to confirm the MTA mapping and specifically identified a broad band of active faults running directly under the main building at El Rodeo. In the face of this much information indicating the presence of active faults at El Rodeo, CGS took an extremely conservative approach to evaluating our investigations and their results.”
Goldstein underscored that because Southern California is a seismically active region, the Education Code requires that geological studies be prepared before the construction or reconstruction to any school buildings.
“For this reason the School District was mandated to perform geological studies to confirm that no active fault rupture hazards existed at the El Rodeo School site,” he said. “The final conclusion accepted by CGS is that there are no active faults at El Rodeo and that development of the site may proceed.”