Tuesday June 14, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The Sooke School District (SD62) prioritizes among it schools for seismic mitigation. It is considered a “major capital expense”.
Schools on the list are prioritized and updated each year. Reports are submitted to the Ministry of Education and Child Care for review and funding approval under the provincial Seismic Mitigation Program.
SD62 priority list:
As reported by SD62 Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull at tonight’s SD62 Resources Committee meeting, based on the engineering reports, the top projects for the District in 2022 are:
1) Port Renfrew Elementary – Year 1
2) Sooke Elementary – Year 1
3) Millstream Elementary – Year 3 (use additional North Langford Elementary seats as swing space)
4) John Muir Elementary – Year 4 (use existing Sooke Elementary as swing space)
5) Saseenos Elementary – Year 5 (use existing Sooke Elementary as swing space)
6) Willway Elementary – Year 5
7) Savory Elementary – Year 5
“The Seismic Program is largely based on the assessment of current seismic risk. A structural engineer has reviewed the District’s buildings and staff have prioritize the seismic projects based on this assessment,” it is stated in the SD62 Resources Committee agenda this evening.
Funding decisions by the Ministry:
Last week it was revealed that the province had put several school capital spending projects on hold, including new schools and seismic upgrades. Yet funding for a new elementary school in South Langford was suddenly announced today.
The Ministry of Education last week said it blames the financial impacts of the pandemic and that they are prioritizing projects which need immediate attention.
Seismic Mitigation Program:
The ministry works with the Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) to assess seismic risks to public schools. The EGBC have developed the Seismic Retrofit Guidelines (SRG), by which all seismic assessments are completed.
Professional engineers, trained in the application of SRG, assess the risk of damage to a building in the event of an earthquake and apply a seismic risk rating. This rating is the foundation for making decisions about how to mitigate risk in a school building.
Since launching the Seismic Mitigation Program (SMP), the ministry has spent over $1.9 billion to complete high-risk seismic projects throughout the province with approximately $1 billion approved since September 2017.
The ministry currently has another $1.098 million allocated for high-risk seismic projects in their 3-year capital plan.
Improved scientific research and more accurate assessments brought about by the 2015 National Building Code and SRG3 will allow government to continue progress to ensure B.C. students and school staff learn and work in seismically safe schools.
Another new school to be built in west-shore SD62 (June 14, 2022)
SD62 graduates crossing the stage (June 6, 2022)
Two SD62 grads receive exceptionally large scholarships (June 4, 2022)
Traffic light installation on Langford Parkway (June 1, 2022)
Dealing with $3+ million shortfall in 2022-2023 SD62 budget (April 20, 2022)
Public input coming up on SD62 budget 2022-2023 (April 12, 2022)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR, has been reporting on Sooke School District SD62 news up close at the board and committee level since 2014. That’s been part of broader news coverage of the west shore municipalities, politics, and community growth.
Mary is the proud mother of four now-adult children who previously attended schools in SD61, SD62 and SD72.
At various points, Ms Brooke provided leadership on the PACs at Margaret Jenkins Elementary (in Victoria) and John Muir Elementary (in Sooke). In those years, the government of the day (pre-NDP) slashed school funding and tied up teacher’s collective agreements; there were many shortfalls in the ability of schools to fully function and credit goes to teachers whose commitment to education carried the ball.