CalArts Students Face Difficult Decision : Aftermath: The school has suffered an estimated $10 million in earthquake damage. The withdrawal deadline is Feb. 11.


Faced with damaged facilities, lost supplies and limited access to their living quarters, CalArts students have until Feb. 11 to decide if they want to continue their education at the specialized school now hampered by an estimated $10 million in earthquake damage.

In a frank talk with students this week, CalArts officials discussed the condition of the campus, plans for satellite classrooms, student concerns and the chances of getting a quality education this semester.

“What I know I tell you,” said John Fuller, CalArts vice president, “What I don’t know I tell you.”


Fuller, sounding weary from his efforts to help the campus recover from the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that struck Jan. 17, said damages are still being assessed at the campus but some trouble spots have been identified.

Asbestos testing is ongoing in the main building, which encompasses 500,000 square feet. A wall under the cafeteria had to be reinforced with steel beams. And while water and power have been restored, the college’s boiler system must be repaired before heat will be available.

There is believed to have been minimal damage to most of CalArts’ highly technical equipment, although campus officials are unsure how many students will be able to retrieve their project materials.

Several satellite classrooms have already been established. The music school is working out of Temple Beth Shalom in Newhall and faculty members’ homes, the film school is using Vista Village Shopping Center in Valencia, the theater school is using tents on campus and a theater at Magic Mountain, and the dance school is transporting students to studios in Pasadena.

Efforts are under way to secure a larger site to house CalArts departments.

The college is negotiating with Lockheed to use its abandoned laboratory testing site and hangar in Valencia. CalArts has offered half of Lockheed’s asking price, and is hoping for a donation from the aerospace firm, said Steve Lavine, CalArts president.

Students must decide by Feb. 11 whether the modified offerings at CalArts are acceptable, as the deadline looms to withdraw for the semester and still receive a full refund. Tuition was $12,875 for the 1992-1993 school year, and enrollment included about 1,000 students.


The college was in its first week of the spring semester when the Northridge earthquake rocked the campus. The deadline to add or drop classes was extended.

Both students and administrators seemed frustrated at not knowing how much of the campus and project materials they will be able to retrieve from the earthquake debris.

A letter drafted and circulated by some students in the music school said tuition and other fees should be cut by at least one-third to reflect the reduction in facilities and services.

Lavine said he was doubtful tuition would be cut, but tried to assure students they would not skyrocket next semester either.