end of update.
The Times is running a series on earthquake readiness (or lack thereof) in Washington State. In April, the City released a document that names hundreds of buildings that they believe are problematic. And yes, there are dozens of SPS buildings on the list from every corner of the district.
(I did write about this issue back in 2013 but given the area of the country we live in, it's worth revisiting.)
I actually had already seen the list several weeks back and contacted Tom Redman, Facilities and Capital Communications Coordinator. He didn't even know it had been put out which is odd given the number of SPS buildings on the list.
But two things upfront.
One, most of the school buildings on the list were given a "C" which stands for
Preliminary Risk Category is a classification assigned to each building based on the height of the building, the occupancy, and the soil conditions.The "C" classification is the most serious one.
Critical Risk (C) is assigned to buildings in the Emergency and Schools occupancy groups (see table below).
But two, most of the schools have a "field" verified listing which means it was a visual sighting. I had contacted Mr. Redman because I know the district has steadily been reinforcing SPS buildings via BEX and BTA (and, of course, constructing new buildings to the latest earthquake codes.)
So apparently the City didn't contact SPS about the buildings on the list to see if the district had been reinforcing buildings. I believe Mr. Redman was going to cross-check the City's list with all the buildings that have received seismic upgrades. I'll let you know when I get that list.
The fact of the matter is that the district does have many old buildings. We do live in an area that will be getting a major earthquake at some point. I'd like to think the district - whose buildings are used nearly daily for student education- is doing all it can to make those buildings safe.
My worry is not so much for the building themselves but if every school has a plan for what to do if an earthquake happens during school hours. Do parents know what they should do? Are there supplies at schools for 2-12 hours in case parents can't get to their kids? How will schools communicate with the district and parents?
The City has a link to document that SPS created in 2,000 on earthquake retrofits.
There is a Board policy on "Emergencies."
It is the policy of the Seattle School Board that the district and schools develop a comprehensive all-hazard emergency management plan that includes prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery strategies.