SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Seismic Safety Commission has endorsed a request by the University of Utah for $45 million in state funds to reinforce Marriott Library.
The library, located less than a mile from the Wasatch fault, is vulnerable to even a moderate earthquake, according to a 2002 building evaluation. Just one inch of horizontal motion could cause concrete floors to detach from steel support columns, causing the building to collapse, the study found.
The commission, an advisory board charged with identifying key earthquake safety improvements in the state, voted to lend its support before the issue goes before the state Legislature next week, chairman Barry Welliver said Friday.
"The end result of our vote is this is a life safety issue," Welliver said.
In addition to the $45 million sought from state bond funds, the university hopes to raise another $18 million in private funding for the renovation, which would include upgrades to the library's plumbing and electrical system.
The university estimates that on an average weekday about 7,000 people visit the library, which houses a collection worth $300 million.
Welliver said he was skeptical that the Legislature would choose to fully fund the project.
"Our message is not how to fund it, but something has to be done," he said.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)