USSC E‑Newsletter

December 5, 2003                                                                                                              Volume 1, Number 1


In This Issue

·    Marriott Library Seismic Retrofit

·    January Commission Meeting Preview

·    Barry’s Babble

Division of Emergency Services and Homeland Security

Utah Geological Survey

Utah Seismic Safety Commission

Links of Note:

Western States Seismic Policy Council – Earthquake Program Information Center

Advanced National Seismic System – USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

FEMA HAZUS: Natural Hazard Loss Estimation Methodology

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
University of Utah “Utah Earthquake Information”

Contact Me

Marriott Library Seismic Retrofit

The Marriott Library at the University of Utah campus is scheduled for a major renovation. In addition to updating the buildings services, a seismic upgrade which will significantly improve the structures safety is planned.

The building was reviewed and found to have significant seismic deficiencies. These issues if left uncorrected could pose very serious life safety concerns for any occupants.

Funding for the project has been approved by the State Building Board and will be subject to approval by the Utah State legislature in the upcoming January 2004 session. For further information visit the J. Willard Marriott Library site at .

Support for this project will be the subject of a short presentation at the January 16th, 2004 Utah Seismic Safety Commission regular quarterly meeting.

January USSC Meeting Preview

We are meeting at the new Alcohol Beverage Control facility in January and have three short programs on the agenda:

·         Marriott Library Seismic Retrofit

·         Insurance for earthquake protection in Utah

·         Matrix/Strategy update.

Additionally, we plan to squeeze in a continuation of our budget review discussion from last meeting and an update on the Existing Buildings initiative.

A reminder for all commissioners is to come prepared to make nominations for the Western States Seismic Policy Council awards. Visit to view past award recipients and read about selection criteria and categories.

Finally, a tour of the ABC facility will be offered to those interested. At this time, it has not been confirmed whether this will occur at the beginning of the day or at the conclusion of our meeting. We will get this finalized shortly so plans may be made.

Barry’s Babble

I’m pretty sure you’ll understand this section without too much explanation. Hopefully it will be worth something more than “babble” but I couldn’t think of a more serious word to alliterate with Barry.

I have been casting about for a way to keep the commission abreast of upcoming events and possible topics for future commission meetings. During our meeting planning sessions we (staff, co-chairs and myself) try to focus on ideas which fit the interests of the present commission and help us achieve our stated goals. As you can imagine, the process is selective and subject to success and failure. The challenge has always been to engage the entire commissions’ opinions effectively and therefore it’s important to be reminded of our roles and your ability to influence and direct our actions.

This month’s program on insurance was at the suggestion of commissioner Cathy Howick. This is an area in which the commission has treaded lightly. It’s nice to get something other than science and buildings on our agenda and this will help broaden our focus.

With that said, it also seems essential that you “hear” (or read in this case) the opinions of your chair, co-chairs and staff to better know where we stand on issues. I hope by using means such as this interim newsletter we can take the opportunity to share some of those dreams and ideas.

Our press release last month on existing unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings and the Salt Lake City School Districts WSSPC award were well received. I was interviewed on KSL and Fox TV as well as Public radio about URM’S and the Desert News ran an article on the Salt Lake City School District’s Seismic Design Criteria for Non-Structural Systems manual. Both of these opportunities will hopefully serve to build upon the USSC message that things are being done in our communities and much remains to be considered.

The coming year will bring about the tenth anniversary of this commission and since we are no longer required to justify our existence through a sunset review, perhaps we should find a way to celebrate our continuation. We’d like to hear your ideas and thoughts at our January meeting.

Lastly, in lieu of bonuses for everyone, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.