As the sounds of sandblasting and jackhammers probably betray, the San Rafael Residence Hall has been undergoing several major renovation projects aimed at bringing the aging structure up to current safety standards.

UCSB Design and Construction Services and Soltek Pacific Construction Management are currently working together on phase one of the San Rafael Hall Seismic Corrections and Renovations Project. The project will be completed in two phases.

Phase one began in December and is expected to finish in June 2003. It entails the renovation of the east and west towers along Ocean Road, bringing them up to current safety standards. The second phase, slated to begin in June 2003 and last until September 2003, will renovate the Ocean and Mountain clusters along the lagoon.

“We’re on a tight schedule,” San Rafael project manager Ed Marini said, “but we should be done in time for Housing [and Residential Services] to move furniture into the towers for the [Family Vacation Center] in summer 2003.”

The projected construction budget for the two phases of the project is approximately $5.8 million. Funding is provided by certificates of participation, which are similar to bonds, Marini said.

As part of the renovation, Design and Construction Services is installing new electric wiring and a new lighting system. New fire alarms and fire sprinklers will also be installed in both towers and clusters.

“The purpose of the seismic renovations is to provide safe housing for everyone,” Marini said.

All buildings on campus are rated for structural deficiencies, based on a scale of good to poor, Marini said. San Rafael Residence Hall’s standards were compared to those of past projects such as Carrillo Dining Commons.

“The east and west towers of San Rafael rated poor. The clusters were okay, but they were due for renovation,” Marini said. “There were numerous problems with the fire alarms. They would go off as false alarms.”