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Cal Poly Pomona’s landmark CLA building to be demolished

In the coming months, the view from the 10 Freeway is going to look a little different. In a recent news release from Cal Poly Pomona, the university’s iconic CLA tower “is slated for demolition this summer.”

The tower was opened in 1993 and was the soaring campus landmark made of limestone-clad obelisk visible from the 10 and 57 freeways. The iconic tower appeared in the movies Gattaca and Imposter, and several television commercials.

“Unfortunately, the structurally flawed tower and adjoining Registrar Building are situated on an earthquake fault and have construction flaws and mechanical system problems. Retrofitting the building is not fiscally feasible due to prohibitive costs,” the news release read.

“The demolition of the building represents the best option from both a financial perspective and a safety standpoint,” said Aaron Klemm, senior associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management. “Being good stewards of the campus means making decisions based on what offers the most benefit to future generations of students.”

The nearly 54,000-square-foot CLA Tower and the 36,000-square-foot Registration section are part of a four-building complex that broke ground in March 1990. However due to flaws, the tower and Registration Building were shuttered in 2018.

Removal is scheduled to begin in late May after commencement ceremonies. Commencements will be held between May 20, 21 and 22.

Deconstruction of the CLA tower will be completed by mid-August before the start of the fall semester. The site will then undergo a transformation into a green space and outdoor sitting and study areas.

“The tower won’t come down with a bang like many building demolitions. Instead, the contractor will use a crane and grabbing excavator to bring the structures down. The process will produce less noise, cause fewer disruptions to nearby classrooms, and protect the Aratani Japanese Garden as well as electrical and water lines at the basement level which feed into nearby buildings,” the news release said. “Faculty and staff members who have offices in the classroom side of the CLA building will be temporarily relocated during the demolition phase for safety and noise considerations.”

During the tear-down, the Aratani Japanese Garden will be covered and protected from dust and debris. Koi experts will offer guidance on how to protect and minimize the impact to the fish in the garden’s pond. The Japanese Garden will be restored and is expected to be reopened by the start of 2023.

For more information about the project or history of the Classroom, Laboratory, and Administration tower, visit the school’s website.

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