I would like to add a little information to Rodger Hardy's illuminating article, "Survey comes a little late in building of Provo school," published by the Deseret News on Monday, June 1. The law requiring school sites to be inspected by the Utah Geological Survey states, "To receive approval of a proposed building site, the local school district must certify that the site has been inspected by the staff of the Utah Geological Survey." (Utah Administrative Code, R277-455-4) Provo School District was informed of this law prior to the construction of Amelia Earhart Elementary School but failed to comply with it. Gary Chris-ten-son, who is with the Utah Geological Survey, became aware of this failure in December 1997, when the school was already half built. As a compromise measure, Gary arranged for Barry Solomon, a senior geologist with the Utah Geological Survey, to review the geotechnical report that had been done on the site under the direction of architect Steve Sandstrom.
I received a copy of Mr. Solomon's report. His major point is that the ground liquefaction potential and effects were not accurately assessed in the geotechnical report, leading to possible earthquake vulnerability in the school. He says foundation borings should have been drilled to a depth of 30 feet, instead of the 15 feet to which they were drilled, and that a significant potential exists for liquefiable sediments - sensitive clays being the ones of greatest concern - at a depth of greater than 15 feet. He also says that the site is subject to flooding hazards not addressed in the geotechnical report.At about the same time Mr. Solomon's report was written, Christenson surveyed the proposed elementary school site in the southeast area of Provo. He also issued a report, which stated that the proposed site was in a fault zone and recommended against building a school there. I understand that Provo School District has abandoned that site but is still looking in the fault zone for another site.
I encourage parents of children who will be attending Amelia Earhart or the southeast school to get copies of these reports from Provo School District, the Utah Geological Survey or myself. (I'm in the phone book.) Look at the reports, talk to experts about them, determine your options and act on the best one. The safety of your children and others may depend upon it.