MEDFORD, Ore. — Work is underway at Hoover Elementary in Medford to make the school buildings safe in the event of a major earthquake.
The seismic upgrades project is going to cost about $2 million in total. $1.5 million is being covered by a grant from the state, but the Medford School District (MSD) will be footing the bill for $500,000 of the project.
Right now contractors and construction workers are doing what they can while school is still in session.
"They cut these diamond areas to put this outside plate on," said Ron Havniear, Facilities Manager for MSD. "They run a bolt through the wall and they connect the roof to the wall."
MSD said that it has been working to get life safety standards at all of its schools up to par, and hope to get some buildings to "immediate occupancy" as fast as it can.
"Life safety standards which means that the building will likely be damaged beyond compare but the occupants will be able to exit safely. The second is immediate occupancy which means that the building will sustain itself through the event and be ready to use following the event," said Havniear.
Four other schools in the district have already been upgraded, and MSD has already applied for the next round of grant funding so that it can continue upgrading the remaining schools.
"We just want the community to know that we desire to be a resource in all emergencies but specifically for seismic and we want these buildings to still be standing and for people to get out safely and to still be able to use as a community resource when the unforgiving moment comes," Havniear said.
The majority of the upgrades at Hoover will wait until the summer, once school is out.