SAN JOSE (KPIX) — How do you move a 6,500-square-foot mansion from one location on the San Jose State campus to another about a mile away? The short answer is: very carefully. Also, very slowly.
Built in 1904, the Scheller House, used as offices for SJSU Associated Students, inched down San Fernando Street on Saturday toward its new home across campus.
One longtime resident, Audrey Bridger, was fascinated by the extraordinary sight.
“It’s the first time in a very long life that I’ve seen anything like this,” Bridger said.
She was joined by a large crowd of the curious who lined the streets waiting expectantly — cellphone cameras at the ready — for the house to make that final turn onto the campus.
“I hope it doesn’t tip over when it’s turning here,” Bridger laughed.
The Scheller house had to be moved to make room for a brand new science building.
University officials said that moving the massive building down tree-lined streets past power poles, traffic lights and street lamps was a little like threading the eye of needle. There was little room for error.
“Taking a house that’s 6,500 square feet — almost 200 tons — and moving it a mile, it’s a pretty amazing feat. It takes a tremendous amount of engineering work,” said Charlie Faas, vice president of finance at SJSU.
By mid-morning, the move was ahead of schedule and going smoothly but, as it so often seems, the last, little bit was the trickiest.
The house snagged on some branches which had to be cut away before it could make the final turn and maneuver onto the campus.
The university says it will be summer before the house is fully secured to its foundation and ready for students to move back in.