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Now you see it... now you don't

  • August 20, 2013

By Frank Addiego

On Saturday, August 17, Hayward said goodbye to one of its most notable monuments, Warren Hall, a fixture at California State University East Bay (CSUEB) since 1969. The iconic building, dominating the Hayward hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay, opened in 1971, the same year, local businessman E. Guy Warren, who successfully lobbied for a campus to be located in Hayward, passed away. In 1980, the CSU board named the structure Warren Hall in his honor.

A representative of the university said that the building had been "declared the number-one earthquake risk in the CSU system" by the CSU Board of Trustees. The 13-story building, located close to the Hayward fault, has been worrisome to geologists for years. Although the building was not up to current building codes, Mark Loizeaux of Controlled Demolition, Inc. said, "That doesn't mean it would fall down in an earthquake."

According to representatives the companies involved in the demolition and removal of Warren Hall, residual concrete will be recycled for future projects on campus and reclaimed steel will go to the Port of Oakland.

Locals viewed the controlled demolition at a nearby K-Mart or their homes in the area. However, members of the Warren family, as well as local dignitaries, attended a pre-implosion ceremony at a parking lot on campus.

"For almost 40 years, Warren Hall held classes and administrative services," said CSUEB President Leroy M. Morishita, who called the moment "bittersweet," and said to the Warren family, "I hope it will help you remember the thousands of students who have benefited from E Guy Warren's foresight and dedication to higher education in the East Bay." 

Warren's grandson, Rob, spoke about the late businessman and CSU board member. "My grandfather always had a plan, a project, an idea to move forward," he said. "There was no question his greatest public passion was to education." The younger Warren touched upon his grandfather's degree from MIT, his role in founding AC Transit and his friendship with future president Ronald Reagan with whom he shared an interest in ranching. Warren speculated that his grandfather would have said, "The real accomplishment was not this building, but the fact that the campus is thriving."

At 9:00 a.m., the building came down in an implosion that lasted little over ten seconds. "It's very sad to see it come down," said congressman Eric Swalwell, "It stood for a man who brought so much to the area."


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