District Administration - July/August 2011 - (Page 18)
Are Northwest Schools Ready for an Imminent Earthquake?
The “Big One” is cOming, said chris goldfinger, professor in the college of Oceanic and atmospheric sciences at Oregon state University, at the american institute of architects’ Portland conference in late June. goldfinger, a renowned expert on earthquakes, believes that within the next 50 years, Washington and northern Oregon face a 10 to 15 percent chance of an offshore quake that could cause a powerful tsunami, and southern Oregon has more than a 37 percent chance of experiencing a magnitude 8 or higher earthquake. in Oregon alone, at least 300,000 children attend school buildings that are vulnerable to a collapse. “The average building in [Portland Public schools] is 65 years old,” says c.J. sylvester, chief operating officer of PPs and a panel speaker at the conference. “These buildings made in the 1920s and ’30s are not up to seismic standards.” sylvester points to the cascadia subduc-
by Marion Herbert
Rosa Parks Elementary in Portland was built according to seismic code in 2006.
tion zone, a plate boundary that stretches from Vancouver to northern california, as the cause of these threats. The zone separates the Juan de Fuca and north america plates, and as a new ocean floor is being created, ocean material wells up and moves toward the coasts of Washington and Oregon.
For schools, this means there is a relative urgency to bring their structures up to seismic code. Two major aspects of a seismically sound structure include gravity weights for a building to hold itself up and tying parts of a building together to prevent it from moving side to side, says Karina Ruiz, associate principal at dull Olsen Weekes architects and project manager of Rosa Parks elementary school, built in the Portland district in 2006. The school was built according to the 2004 building code, while the most recent building code in Oregon was in 2010. “Our primary concern [in Oregon] is seismic design,” says Ruiz. “We want to make sure these buildings aren’t going to buckle under during an earthquake.” in may, a $548 million bond to seismically retrofit the district’s 53 out of 85 schools failed by 700 votes. The district is hoping to hear from those who opposed the bond and to try again in 2012.
WHAt WAs once 28,000 squAre feet of paved schoolyard asphalt is now a full-fledged garden complete with walkways, a storage shed and an iron fence. the 500 preK-5 students at brooklyn, n.Y.’s P.s. 216 elementary school are the first students in the city to experience an edible schoolyard program. the project, the first in the country to operate year-round, was completed in a mere seven weeks. for its efforts, the school won the 2010 Harry H. Mellon Award of excellence in Job order contracting. the edible schoolyard program began in berkley, california as part of the nonprofit organization, chez Pannisee foundation, founded by chef
and author Alice Waters. the nearly $2 million project, funded through many private donations, has changed the culture at the school, says Principal celia Kaplinsky. the garden has been incorporated into the school’s curriculum with classes—even in the winter—studying plant life, soil and food in the school’s kitchen classrooms and greenhouse. Lunches include food from the garden, and parents are invited to night events to experience the garden, as well. “the garden is an equalizer for students at the school, and the community has really gotten involved,” says Kaplinsky. the garden is particularly important
Adam Sternin/Cavan Images
A Garden Grows in Brooklyn
P.S. 216 in Brooklyn, New York created a year-round edible schoolyard. for students in an urban environment, she says, so students are more aware of the food they’re eating. “some children think the food they’re eating comes straight from the supermarket,” says Kaplinsky. “by studying these plants growing in the ground, they can really internalize it.”
18 July/August 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - July/August 2011
District Administration - July/August 2011
From the Editor
Inside the Law
The Social Media Dilemma
Is Year-Round Schooling on Track?
After 50 Years, Ethnic Studies Still Controversial
Finding the Right Purchasing Solution
Look, Listen, Learn
District Administration - July/August 2011