Restoring the Rock
Kathleen McPartland (Public Affairs and Publications)
Alcatraz. While it was a notorious federal penitentiary, prisoners spent a lot of time and energy plotting a way to get off the island (36 people attempted escape; officially, none succeeded). Now, more than 5,000 people a day wait in line to get onto the island. It is a compelling destination because of its location, its architecture, and its history—part of which is being preserved by a team of California State University, Chico students.
In early July, Phil Petermann came to retrieve me from the dock in San Francisco. Petermann is the student public affairs director for the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) Preservation Field School at Alcatraz Island. The rest of the crew was already working at the island’s “Puppy Stairs,” the site of the summer 2011 concrete rehabilitation project. They were part of a five-year partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and working on the island for 10 weeks, from June through August.
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