As you may know, before breaking ground on the proposed Filmmakers Village project, we evaluated environmental conditions underneath the site. The testing revealed the presence of chemicals beneath one portion of the site originally planned for student housing. The chemicals appear to be left over from long-past industrial activity at the property, where a company called Anaconda Wire & Cable operated for several decades. The university had been advised that there were no significant environmental issues prior to its purchase of the property.
Additional testing—including air quality tests inside Marion Knott Studios—was conducted to make sure the underground conditions were not affecting the air we breathe. We are pleased the results indicate there is no effect on campus health and safety. The air quality tests were consistent with typical outdoor and indoor air quality measurements in Southern California. There were no indications that the underground conditions at and near the Anaconda Wire site are affecting above-ground air quality, including at the Marion Knott Studios. While tests reveal the presence of industrial chemicals in the groundwater underneath the Anaconda Wire site, there is no evidence that industrial chemicals have reached drinking water supply wells. Drinking water for the campus comes from the City of Orange Public Works Water Division, which tests it regularly for safety.
We are coordinating with the appropriate environmental oversight agencies to determine whether additional testing of underground conditions is necessary and what actions might be taken to remediate those conditions. We will address those conditions when the most appropriate measures are determined.
We have decided that the wisest course of action is to alter our plans regarding Filmmakers Village. For example, we are now exploring other locations for student housing near Dodge College. This housing likely will be designed to accommodate the same number of students originally planned for Filmmakers Village. At the same time, we are still planning to build a parking structure and redevelop the historic structure on the southern half of the Anaconda Wire site. That historic building will house new digital arts classrooms and offices for Chapman faculty.
As we develop more definitive information about these and other plans for Chapman’s growth, we will share them with you here at anacondawiresite.com