Today, as students throughout the province participate in the Great British Columbia ShakeOut, the B.C. government is continuing to make schools safer for all students.
Since 2001, as part of the seismic mitigation program, $2.2 billion has been spent or committed to seismically upgrade 213 high-risk schools.
As of this September, 143 schools have been upgraded, 10 schools are currently under construction, seven schools are moving toward construction and an additional 53 schools have been supported to proceed. It is anticipated it will cost a further $600 million to address the remaining 126 high-risk schools in the province.
The Ministry of Education continues to work closely with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. and the University of British Columbia’s department of civil engineering to ensure the latest seismic assessment procedures are used to identify which schools are most at risk during an earthquake, and how to best retrofit those schools.
These experts look at a school’s location in B.C. seismic zones, local soil characteristics, different earthquake types, different building configurations and varying levels of earthquake intensity. As well, the latest research and lessons learned from earthquakes in California, Japan, China, Turkey, New Zealand and Chile are incorporated into B.C.’s seismic plans.
The Seismic Retrofit Guidelines developed for the ministry by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists BC and UBC’s Earthquake Engineering Research Facility have received a number of awards from the engineering community, both provincially and nationally.
Last year, the ministry - in partnership with APEG BC, UBC and four structural engineering firms - won the Award of Excellence and the Engineering a Better Canada Award by Association of Canadian Consulting Engineers at the 2013 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards Gala. The ministry also received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence and the Award of Excellence at the 2013 Awards for Engineering Excellence. In 2010, the ministry was awarded the Excellence in Innovation in Civil Engineering by the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering.
The ministry, in partnership with school districts throughout the province, will continue to advance seismic upgrades to ensure student safety in the event of an earthquake. For example, the ministry and the Vancouver board of education recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to create a new project office in Vancouver, to help speed up the delivery of school seismic projects.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education −
“The safety of students and staff has always been our key focus and it is clear that our award-winning seismic mitigation program is helping us to achieve our goals.”
“In fact, B.C. is a leading jurisdiction on seismic research and seismic safety with experts from around the world coming here to learn from our work.”
Ann English, P.Eng., CEO, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC −
“The BC School Seismic Mitigation Program is a unique partnership that has brought together engineers, UBC researchers and the Ministry of Education to make schools safer. We’re proud to be a part of a success story that is about bringing the best engineering science to protect students in B.C., and which has been modeled by governments and emergency planners from Israel to the U.S.”
“The School Seismic Mitigation Program utilizes seismic guidelines and engineering assessment tools, based on cutting-edge research and the work of professional engineers and UBC researchers. This science-based approach is helping planners in government to prioritize seismic projects and allocate resources where they can have the biggest impact.”
For a list of schools under the Ministry of Education’s Seismic Mitigation Program, visit: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/capitalplanning/seismic/progress_report.pdf
Ministry of Education’s Seismic Mitigation Program: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/capitalplanning/seismic/
Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC): https://www.apeg.bc.ca/Home
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education