Emergency area part-closed

Pierce College’s largest evacuation zone is still not entirely open for emergency use after being at least partly inaccessible for a period of time.

Evacuation Zone 1 has had some form of fencing around it for a number of years. Pierce College has five evacuation zones that are used for emergencies including fires, explosions, and bomb threats. Zone 1 is located on the east side of Brahma Drive, and covers the Winnetka entrance.

It is responsible for students in buildings 1000-1700, and faculty and staff in College Services, Student Services, and Business.

Evacuation Zone 1 has been partially fenced off for at least six months, according to Director of Facilities Paul Nieman. “I’m not positive,” he said. “I think that fence went up last semester.”

But some students said the area has been blocked off for much longer. “The fences have been there for as long as I’ve been coming here,” said chemistry major Anurima Rai, who is in her fourth year at Pierce College.

Former three-year-student Andrew Delgado, who attended Pierce from 2011 through 2014 said “oh yeah, for as long as I’ve known.”

Neither Rai nor Delgado said they were aware that the area is used for evacuation.

Pierce College Vice President Larry Kraus, who coordinates evacuation planning with Nieman, is unsure how long Evacuation Zone 1 has been closed off. “I don’t have that kind of information,” he said.

However, Kraus said the area is fenced off by order of the Vice President of Administrative Services “to keep unauthorized people from going in and vandalizing and destroying the property.”

While parts of that zone remain fenced off, Kraus added “Parts of it are and parts of it are not. You can still go to that zone.”