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Medford schools completing seismic upgrades

"In light of the recent activity we've had of the earthquakes, it kind of reinforces the relevancy of it. You know, preparation is key."

Posted: Jul 22, 2019 6:25 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2019 6:28 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- With the recent earthquakes in Washington and California, Rogue Valley officials are making sure we are prepared for seismic emergencies. Right now, crews are working to complete large-scale seismic upgrades in the Medford School District. Newswatch12 toured the district's 5th school upgrade project, Hoover Elementary School.

Construction at Hoover started during spring break because workers had to upgrade every building, includng each classroom, hallway and even the gym. Hoover is the fifth school in the MSD to receive large-scale seismic upgrades.

Costing two million dollars in total, Hoover is the only school to get all the upgrades at once. 1.5 million of that is grant funded and $500,000 is from the district. The development director, Ron Havniear, said the goal is to get all seismic updates done before 2032, but it's not a quick process. Just this school alone took about 18 months to complete, starting from planning to final construction.

"It's important for us to prioritize, we just did assesment and looked at every school and every buildng to determine where to put the resources," Havniear said.

Construction is set to be complete before school starts in August.

Havniear said, "The gym and cafeteria will be brought up to immediate occupancy standards, the rest of the site will be brought up to life safety standards."

Immediate occupancy standards means those areas should sustain the earthquake and be able to be used right after for shelter if needed. The rest of the campus will be upgraded to life safety standards, meaning all staff and students will be able to get out of the building safely.

"You know in light of the recent activity we've had of the earthquakes, it kind of reinforces the relevancy of it. You know, preparation is key," Havniear said. 

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