Seismic Upgrades

Schools in San Diego Unified School District have proven to be safe places during seismic events.  District schools are safe for occupancy.  To maintain student safety and the structural integrity of its buildings, the district assigns a high priority to any signs of structural/seismic issues and responds accordingly.  Schools constructed in San Diego and throughout California since 1976 have been built according to stringent seismic codes, exceeding those of most other buildings.
 
Seismic Upgrades
Existing windows were in-filled with concrete to make the
exterior walls more resistant to lateral movement.
Milestones in California’s School Building Safety Standards
 
1933 Field Act 
The Field Act was California legislation that required earthquake-resistant design and construction for public schools, kindergarten through community college.  It specified that the state would review and approve all public school plans and specifications, and monitor all construction work.

1976 Uniform Building Code (UBC)
The UBC was California’s first modern seismic code with lateral seismic standards for earthquake resistance. Substantial improvements in the seismic design of buildings were incorporated into the 1976 UBC, which went into effect July 1978.
 
2002 Seismic Safety Inventory of California Public Schools
Assembly Bill 300 (AB300) required the Department of General Services (DGS) to inventory public school buildings (kindergarten through 12th grade) that were concrete tilt-up construction, and those with non-wood frame walls that did not meet the minimum requirements of the 1976 UBC. The DGS, through the Division of the State Architect (DSA), inventoried California schools and determined seismic resistance for those schools based on the type of construction and the age of the buildings. Information was compiled from available project plans, and did not involve any field visits or structural inspections. The report is available online at the Division of the State Architect’s website at www.dgs.ca.gov.  Since the AB300 list was published, all San Diego Unified School District buildings have been evaluated by a licensed structural engineer.  As far as the district has been able to determine, all buildings are safe for occupancy.  However, there are buildings that warrant further study for potential seismic upgrades. 
 
San Diego Unified Structural/Seismic Upgrades
As an example of its diligence, in July 1992 San Diego Unified School District identified structural deficiencies in buildings at 11 schools (listed below), and made repairs immediately.  These schools were built during the mid-1970s, and utilized the same concrete tilt-up design concept.  The problems were not a result of seismic activity, but were caused by design and construction issues.  Cracks were found in the exterior concrete bond beams, which reduced the ability of the buildings to resist lateral movement in the case of a significant seismic event.
 
Chesterton ESDailard ESEricson ESGreen ESHickman ESMason ES
Penn ESSandburg ESSpreckels ESTierrasanta ESWalker ES 
 
Structural/Seismic Upgrades Planned Under Proposition S
Based on the 2002 Department of General Services report, and the district’s 2005 structural assessment of buildings constructed before 1978, buildings on 13 campuses (listed below) were identified as needing repair or improvements.  Plans were incorporated into the district’s Long-Range Facilities Master Plan, and funds to address these improvements were designated in Prop. S, the bond measure passed in 2008.  Project details can be found in the 2008 voter guide posted on the Prop. S website, in the bond project lists, or on the school facilities projects website at http://fpcprojects.sandi.net.  
 

 

Adams ES
Balboa ES
Bird Rock ES
Central ES
Emerson ES
Gompers MS
Jackson ES
Logan ES 
Mann MS
Morse HS
Point Loma HS
San Diego HS
Wilson MS
 

 

Seismic Upgrades
New diagonal tie rods were added at the bottom of the
existing structural frame to give the roof system more
support against unwanted movement. 
For additional questions regarding school building safety and seismic improvements, please contact Facilities Planning & Construction. For resources on California’s school building standards, please visit the Division of the State Architect’s website at www.dgs.ca.gov.