As Pepperdine moves toward a return to regular class schedules and normal operations on all University campuses on Monday, November 26, Pepperdine’s EOC is thankful for the support and cooperation of the University community.
Following the events of the Woolsey Fire, Pepperdine has begun an extensive environmental and property restoration process for the Malibu and Calabasas campuses. In the past week, the University began engagements with two leading restoration firms, BELFOR USA and ATI, to assist with efforts to restore all impacted spaces on both campuses. Together, these companies have deployed more than 200 contract employees, in addition to our 130 facilities services team members, who have been working 24 hours a day in anticipation of students returning on Monday.
The University began by completing a thorough evaluation of the Malibu and Calabasas campuses, including a careful inspection of each building for smoke odors and ash or soot particulate. Crews have begun cleaning processes that include high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuuming, the wiping down of fixtures and surfaces with a smoke particulate sponge, carpet cleaning, filter changes for central heating units, and the deployment of HEPA air scrubbers and deodorizers. The University has also taken measures to clean all campus roads, plazas, sidewalks, and other hardscapes in order to minimize the reintroduction of ash and soot into clean campus buildings.
Following assessments of each building’s HVAC system, customized cleaning plans have been made for each system. These plans include filter changes, HEPA vacuuming, and cleaning impacted system components such as fans and intakes. Each building’s HVAC system will be cleaned, inspected, tested, and reactivated upon completion of the cleaning in order to circulate building air before faculty, staff, and students return.
The University has also been working with its longtime partner American Environmental Services (AES), a leading firm that provides air quality measurement and impact assessment services, to conduct a series of indoor air quality tests to ensure the safety of our campus community. The University will continue to utilize AES for air sampling services when necessary as weather conditions change in order to ensure we are maintaining a healthy campus environment.
Regular custodial and maintenance services for the Malibu and Calabasas campuses will resume on Monday, November 26. In the meantime, and in the days or weeks that follow, you may continue to notice smoky odors from soot that remains on the slopes or hillsides surrounding the campuses, particularly during wind or rain events. Each individual responds differently to these conditions, and any campus community member with questions, concerns, or additional needs around ongoing cleaning efforts is encouraged to contact Facilities Services at 310.506.4101 or email@example.com.
Malibu Canyon Road is now open in both directions for all vehicle traffic. Drivers, however, should be mindful of falling debris in the canyon, including loose dirt and rocks. Due to fire suppression activities in the area, rocks may have become dislodged from water drops, and topsoil in certain areas may be unstable.
At this time, the Emergency Operations Committee is deactivating, and the University is beginning to return to normal operations. However, members of the committee remain available for questions or concerns.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has announced a repopulation of areas in the City of Malibu including a full opening of the Civic Center area west of Serra Road effective 2 PM today. Pacific Coast Highway is now open without roadblocks to Corral Canyon Road. All other road closures, including Malibu Canyon Road, and evacuated areas are still in effect.
Campus homeowners and community members are now welcome to return to campus as needed. The Malibu campus will remain closed for business through November 26 as previously announced, and those returning to campus should be advised that normal operational services, including housekeeping, trash collection, dining, shuttles, and campus recreation, will be limited through the Thanksgiving holiday period. Community members should also expect limited access to wifi connectivity and internet access following damage to cable lines into campus. Faculty and staff residences served by Spectrum still have no internet connectivity.
As the University continues to work through the impacts of the Woolsey Fire, Malibu and Calabasas faculty and staff are encouraged to work remotely until Monday, November 26 due to campus building cleaning and reduced operational services. All employees will continue to be compensated through November 26 if they are unable to work remotely but should address work expectations with their supervisors.
The University has begun an effort to clean areas of campus affected by the Woolsey Fire. Remediation and cleaning crews will begin arriving on campus tomorrow and will be cleaning through the week to prepare for our community’s return.
The Woolsey Fire is now 69 percent percent contained and has burned more than 98,000 acres and destroyed more than 615 structures. The University is not currently under a Red Flag Warning, but wind gusts from 20 MPH and higher minimum relative humidity are expected throughout the day today.
The Pepperdine community is reminded to stay vigilant on current fire conditions and to continue to adhere to new or existing road closures and evacuation warnings.