EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thirty-One East Bay Schools Uncertified For Quakes Over Decade

16 IN FREMONT; 5 IN CASTRO VALLEY; 4 IN SAN LEANDRO; 3 IN HAYWARD; 2 IN SAN LORENZO COULD PUT CHILDREN AT RISK
By Steven Tavares

McKinley Elementary in San Leandro has been
uncertified by state earthquake standards
 for over a decade.
A large number of East Bay public schools have languished for over a decade on a lengthy list of building project that lack earthquake certification, according to a recent investigative series by the web site California Watch.

Thirty-one public schools located in Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Castro Valley appear in the site's database of institutions containing at least one building project that lacks certification to withstand the effects of an earthquake according to the state’s Field Act standards. Washington High School in Fremont alone contains five uncertified building projects on its campus alone. In addition, four other elementary schools in Fremont contain more than one outstanding certification. Nearly all of the insufficiently certified projects in the East Bay have been known for over a decade, according to the reports.

In San Leandro, John Muir Middle School and Woodrow Wilson Elementary on Williams Street, William McKinley Elementary and James Madison Elementary contain at least one uncertified earthquake-proof project. San Lorenzo High School and Bay Elementary in San Lorenzo also were listed on the AB 300 listing.

Castro Valley High School along with its two middle schools—Creekside and Canyon—appeared on the database along with two elementary schools, one of which, Vannoy Elementary possesses two uncertified building projects.

Hayward’s Mt. Eden High School and East Bay Arts High School along with Bowman Elementary also have been at-risk for over a decade.

Following the five projects at Fremont’s Washington High, 16 additional public schools in the city are in danger of potentially catastrophic outcomes in the event of a strong earthquake in the East Bay.

Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett held informational hearings Wednesday in Sacramento on the lack the alleged incompetence and graft potentially existing among state inspectors. Corbett is the chair of the Senate Earthquake and Disaster Committee. In the wake of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Corbett held hearings on the safety of the state’s two nuclear power plants featuring testimony from PG&E representatives. The San Leandro senator also had a hand ordering the compilation of the AB 300 listing of uncertified earthquake readiness projects in 2001.

It is estimated 6 in 10 public schools in the state contain uncertified projects with 7,500 putting school children in potentially dangerous positions. More 59,000 projects, according to California Watch, have yet to be reviewed by state inspectors leading one source to estimate it would take over 14 years to ease the backlog of cases.

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