Seismic Safety and San Francisco’s Private Schools

Full seismic retrofit for St. Patrick's Seminary, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Full seismic retrofit for St. Patrick’s Seminary, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Due to growing concerns regarding the earthquake risk and San Francisco’s private schools, City supervisors recently approved a law requiring seismic evaluations of all private schools in the City and County of San Francisco. This law is the first of its kind in California. It will require approximately 120 private schools to complete seismic evaluations of their educational facilities within the next three years. At this time, the ordinance does not require school buildings to be seismically retrofitted, however, some may choose to update their structures voluntarily to make their facilities safer for students.

Randy DeVoto, principal of CSDA, was a member of the San Francisco Private School Earthquake Safety Working Group that recommended the legislation be enacted. As a member of this group, Randy worked with other volunteers including local parents, engineers, architects, school representatives and City staff to study the issues related to the earthquake risk of private schools in San Francisco. The group encountered concerns such as common expectations for the safety of schools, the evaluation of earthquake risk, as well as possible building improvement options. The group issued its report in December 2013.

In response to the new legislation, CSDA has partnered with Degenkolb, a San Francisco-based structural engineering firm, to deliver integrated services to guide private schools in completing the required evaluations and planning for possible renovations. Together, our team can provide seismic evaluations, master plans, ADA upgrades, seismic retrofits, phasing, and budget evaluations.

To learn more about San Francisco’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program for Private Schools and to read the working group’s full report, survey results and recommendations, please click here.

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