Four earthquake faults underneath an elementary school are causing quite a shake up between school and state architect officials.
The Pasadena Unified School District plans to start preliminary testing in May to determine the ages of faults found underneath San Rafael Elementary School’s campus, pending the school board’s approval.
During preparations to upgrade and modernize the school in 2012, four earthquake faults were found and believed to be active with an approximate 90% probability for each. Meaning, there’s evidence to suggest seismic activity within the past 11,700 years. New testing should show, with 99% certainty, if the faults are active.
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Community members are rallying around the school and insisting it’s doors stay open despite the discovery of possible seismic activity.
However, the Department of State Architect put a stop to the modernization project by not allowing or approving any changes to the school. Currently, California state law requires schools to have tougher building standards, more so than other buildings, including no schools within 50 feet of an active fault.
A 7-11 Surplus Property Advisory Committee assembled in 2014, recognizing the community’s insistence to keep the school open, recommended further seismic investigations.
Upcoming tests are in line with the committee’s recommendations. The PUSD Board of Education will decide whether or not to approve Phase 1 testing and authorize a bid process for Phase 2 trenching on the campus as part of its next regular meeting on May 21.
If the faults are found to be inactive, the district would be able to move forward with the upgrades for the school.