Study: 77 out of 128 Utah schools surveyed wouldn't survive major earthquake

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  • My thoughts Spanish Fork, Utah
    Jan. 23, 2011 8:36 p.m.

    The commission hopes the findings will prompt the Legislature, which convenes Monday, to authorize a $500,000 project to screen all Utah schools.

    Sounds like they want to blow a half-million just to screen the schools which will be money spent that doesnt make them one bit safer. We have a few colleges and universities that have students that this would make a good project for them. As for them being students without degrees, think about interns working to be come doctors. They have doctors watching over their work. Their teachers could do the same to be sure it is as good as hiring someone. Then there are people who need jobs. No matter what, remember the Titanic. It was said to be unsinkable.

  • Tired Of The Mess Clearfield, UT
    Jan. 23, 2011 5:53 p.m.

    @ Tyler from Holladay,

    I really don't believe the average citizen in Utah, or even the average lawmaker in Utah is against funding public's the UEA that gets the scowl of the average person, and if funding the schools helps the UEA,,,,,Hello! there is the answer to your issue. Get rid of them and see a united citizenry.

  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    Jan. 23, 2011 5:41 p.m.

    I certainly think children should be safe at school. How many children have been killed at school by an earthquake since statehood in 1896? Just wondering. I am guessing the number to be zero.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Jan. 23, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    These schools are still built pretty solid. These are not like the schools that were built in China that crumbled like sand sculptures.
    Any new buildings should be built up to the new standards, but the old ones are not unsafe.
    What about earthquake safetly drills? I had them in grade school, but nothing after the 3rd grade. That is critical as well. Teach kids the "triangles of life".

  • Tyler Holladay, UT
    Jan. 23, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    People like MapleDon disgust me. If money is your main concern than funding for schools is a MUST. Increases in education lead to increases in the future economy. While increasing safety may not directly increase education, it is important to make sure everyone involved in the process is kept safe. Images of toppled buildings made of cinderblock in Haiti come to mind.

    Why is it that so many Utahans hate spending on schools. It seems that education is a trait looked down upon here.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 23, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    So what happens if the big one hits during the 66% of the day when children aren't in school?

    It would be nice to earthquake proof every public building. All it would take is more money. California's answer to the problem is to spend tomorrow's income paying yesterday's bills.

  • Seek to understand Sandy, UT
    Jan. 23, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    I am the mother of 7 children and I work in schools. I care about all our safety, of course. But this is a strategy by a group of folks who want a windfall of government money (architects/builders). They are trying to create a panic and they, unfortunately, may succeed because they have set up a winning argument - schools are unsafe, and if you don't agree they should be torn down and replaced immediately, you are uncaring, unfeeling and heartless.

    Also unfortunately, our teachers are often the ones least educated in statistics, logic and reasoning, so they will jump on this bandwagon and start calling names of anyone who thoughtfully concludes that schools should be replaced at the end of their usable life with better-engineered buildings, not immediately at great expense.

    We need a STRONG actuarial team to come up with the real risk numbers - students are at the same or greater risk at home, at church, at the store or community center (if they are older buildings). So why make the schools immediately comply? Because the architects/builders know they can likely manipulate their way to big money this way.

    Don't get tricked.

  • Brushowl Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 23, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    I don't believe the numbers. There only 76 schools, not 77 that need to be torn down immediatly. Quick, put all children in tent classrooms untill we bankrupt ourselves rebuilding.

  • My2Cents Kearns, UT
    Jan. 23, 2011 3:40 a.m.

    The 77 schools with some factor of earthquake safety are most likely the very old schools (50 or more years) built when this knowledge was designed in.

    This is not an oversight problem, it is a engineered design omission. This fact of earthquake safety was intentionally forced out of design and construction to cut cost. We can build 50 million dollar school complexes but design out earthquake safety. You never hear any government official ever say that in an emergency use the schools, they can't. Utah is a high risk zone, just ask any insurance agent, and the least of laws to design and build in earthquake safe construction whether it be commercial use, public use, or home use buildings.

    The state put out millions of dollars to make the capital building and City and County buildings earthquake tolerant, but they haven't bothered to pass any legislation for the rest of the state.

    The Wasatch Front is designated high risk earthquake hazard area. The cities of Utah are allowed to issue waivers to developers, with public indemnification, to bypass earthquake/flood zoning laws to build on and put everyone at risk.

  • EgbertThrockmorton Layton, UT
    Jan. 22, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    Since the USGS states that Utah's Wasatch Fault is second only to the New Nadrid Fault area, for massive devastation in a "moderate quake; (5.5 or greater)I wonder how the naive locals, will "consider" the admonitions of the LDS Church to be "prepared"?
    Perhaps these same naive folks haven't given much credence to the biblical parable of the Bridegroom and the 10 Virgins?
    Of course there are a significant number of Utah schools NOT built to basic Federal Seismic Safety Standards, safety goes out the window when the "cost" and reality of actual risk comes into the budget.Besides, nothing "bad" ever happens here in Utah...

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    Jan. 22, 2011 7:45 a.m.

    Don, little children don't get to choose whether or not they go to a safe school. Shame on you.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 21, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    I taught in a small, and very old school in rural Utah. One time a maintenance worker lost his balance on a ladder and put his arm right though the brick exterior wall. Old mortar allowed his weight to knock out nearly a dozen bricks. Left a pretty good hole.

    It was covered with a chunk of plywood for a week or so and then new bricks were plastered back to fill the hole.

    We used to joke that when the big one hits, at least there will be one section of the school that won't fall down.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    Jan. 21, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    I'm glad our legislators will be safe and sound in their great and spacious offices.

    Not to mention the fine parking.

    That is what is important isn't it?

    Schools? Why should we spend any money there?

  • dave31 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    In Utah it is probably not a matter IF we get the big earthquake, but WHEN we get it. It could happen next Thursday or 100 years from next Thursday.

    Whenever it occurs, it may well occur during the 66% of the time when the schools are not occupied. It would be a shame for the students to be in their own, non-earthquake proof homes when it happens, wouldn't it?

    As a practical matter, all of our schools should be replaced AT THE END OF THEIR ECONOMIC LIFE. When they are replaced, they should be replaced using the most current earthquake standards then in existence. FYI the earthquake standards have a history of being revised about every 10 years.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Jan. 21, 2011 4:58 p.m.


    So it's our fault that "it stinks to be a teacher in Utah"? Did we decide your profession?

    That sound you hear is the world's smallest violin.

    With your attitude I hope you're not teaching one of my kids.

    I've worked in various offices and conditions (with asbestos etc.) and you know the funny thing is that they were all MY choice. If I didn't like a job, I moved to the next. Again, my choice. Some jobs I had to do even though I didn't like them. But that was all my choice.

    Our last home was small, built around 1940. It wasn't seismically sound, but I loved it. Whose choice? Again, mine.

    I don't have a lot of compassion or sympathy for people who expect everyone else to bend over backwards for them--and then still continue to complain. You don't like the pay, the old building you work in, or whatever your ache might be? Well put on your pants for heaven's sake and move on.

  • jp3 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    As long as the legislators are protected with their new earthquake-proof building, that's all that matters, right?

    Forget the thousands of children and teachers (the majority of which are women) who work in these brick and cinder block death traps--now if there were more male adults in these buildings, like those who rule over us in this state, it would be a completely different story!

    Where I teach, we only got rid of our asbestos flooring four years ago--and we were supposed to be eternally grateful for that bone they threw to us. It stinks to be a teacher in Utah--unhappy teachers equals poorly taught students.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Jan. 21, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    Here goes a demand for even more tax increases--and of course Deseret Media is in favor (as always). It's for the kids, you know.

    If kid safety is the issue, then why don't they require them to wear seat belts on school buses?

    But Utahns are suckers for tax increases. They always fall for the small increases. And those wanting to increase government spending (and, hence, control) know it's best done little by little.

  • Murray Dad Murray, UT
    Jan. 21, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    I say that the current legislature ban all but homeschools - seismic risk eliminated.