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We present the design, implementation, and experimental evaluation of a wireless sensor network for near real-time structural health monitoring. We use simple custom-built gages to unequivocally detect cracks in critical structural elements. The main data reports have a low data rate and are naturally resilient to loss. We show how a variety of low-cost, off-the-shelf data acquisition/communication devices can be used to support remote monitoring by a control center. The heterogeneous hardware is accommodated by the use of open technology standards, and a software architecture that is portable, modular, and highly configurable. We present an experimental evaluation of our structural assessment network, using a full-scale three-story reinforced concrete building, subjected to lateral forces emulating forces induced by earthquakes. Our results show that a set of 12 strategically positioned sensors on the three floors achieved a zero false-alarm rate, in the sense that each reported breakage can be traced to cracks exceeding the specified total width, and a 100% detection rate for cracks that are covered by a sensor.