Berkeley Unified School District has 16 seismic projects according to the state’s list of AB300 projects. As detailed in the California Watch project on seismic safety in the state’s schools, On Shaky Ground, the AB300 list has inconsistencies and is not always up to date.
Two Berkeley schools are listed on the California Watch map (shown above) as so-called Letter 4 projects — the category that denotes known, unresolved safety issues — although in both cases the state has changed the designation to the slightly better Letter 3, which still means a seismic project has not been certified because of missing documentation. In both the Letter 3 cases, at John Muir Elementary and Thousand Oaks Elementary, the uncertified projects are small ($15,000 and $85,000 respectively).
Unsurprisingly, some of Berkeley’s schools are near a fault, an Alquist-Priolo fault zone, a landslide zone, or a liquefaction zone. Cragmont Elementary is very close to the Hayward fault, lies within an Alquist-Priolo fault zone and is within 1/4-mile of a landslide zone. Rosa Parks Elementary is the one school in Berkeley that is within a liquefaction zone.
According to BUSD Director Karen Hemphill, the district used past bond funds to do seismic work on all the K-12 schools. She said that the board recognizes the need to keep up with changing standards, and new projects may be necessary. “We are one of the few districts that did seismic work in all of our schools,” Hemphill said.
Berkeleyside plans to investigate the seismic plans in the district further in coming weeks, as well as the school district’s adherence to required disaster response training.