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Seismic upgrades completed at four Richmond schools

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 4:54 PDT, Thu September 10, 2020

As the school year gets underway in Richmond, four schools have recently completed their seismic upgrades.

Cook, Tait and Ferris elementary and Boyd secondary schools have a total of 2,405 seismically safer seats available to students thanks to $39.78 million in seismic upgrade funding from the BC government.

“We’ve been advocating for student safety for a number of years, and our advocacy was answered by the provincial government of late,” says trustee Debbie Tablotney. “We’ve had several seismic projects which help us breathe a little easier in case of an earthquake. Parents can send their kids to school knowing that there’s one less thing they have to worry about in those schools that have had seismic upgrades.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with students learning from home, seismic projects were not only able to continue but to do so with even more ease, says Tablotney. 

“We didn’t have to halt anything, which was a blessing,” she says.

At Cook, along with the seismic upgrades, four new classrooms were added, replacing a section of the school. Government has invested $13 million toward this project, creating 555 seismically safer student seats. The Richmond School District also contributed $1 million.

At Boyd, seismic upgrades and a partial replacement have created 800 seismically safer seats for students. The cost of the project was $10.7 million.

At Ferris, seismic upgrades have created 660 seismically safer seats for students in the one-storey building. The cost of the project was $8.49 million.

At Tait, seismic upgrades have created 390 seismically safer seats for students at a cost of $7.59 million.

“The Richmond Board of Education has made it a priority to ensure that our students and staff are learning in safe schools,” says board chair Ken Hamaguchi. “We are extremely proud to have added over 2,400 seismically safe seats in our district. These buildings will serve our local communities for years to come.”

Seismic upgrades continue in Richmond at Mitchell, Steves, Tomsett, Maple Lane, and McKinney elementary schools, with Whiteside and Bridge in the planning and development stage.

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