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Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel fails quake safety standards

The 80-year-old landmark is at risk of partial collapse in a major temblor, study says.

March 13, 2009|Associated Press

The Ahwahnee Hotel, a long-cherished refuge in the heart of Yosemite National Park, does not meet modern seismic safety standards and risks partial collapse in a major earthquake, according to a study released Thursday by park officials.

Presidents, movie stars and vacationers from around the world have stayed in the Ahwahnee since the Art Deco lodge was finished in 1927.

But its 80-year-old reinforced-concrete walls and steel frame are so vulnerable that lives could be lost in a big earthquake, engineering consultants hired by the park found.

The retrofit options that the consultants proposed would cost between $17.9 million and $22.3 million and require the hotel to be left empty for two years.

Kenny Karst, a spokesman for DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, which manages the Ahwahnee, declined to comment on the study and said there were no immediate plans to earthquake-proof the hotel.

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