I recently confirmed that the East Village site for the proposed schoobrary lies across the street from a fault line, something to keep in mind as officials explore the possibility of exempting the building from school construction codes aimed at keeping kids safe in earthquakes.

Darren Greenhalgh, a deputy director in the city’s Engineering and Capital Projects Department, confirmed that a short fault line is in a parking lot across the street from the library site, located on the city block surrounded by 11th Street, Park Boulevard, and J and K streets. The library location is in a “fault zone.”

Because the site’s in a fault zone, it goes through extra analysis. City officials said they dug trenches to ensure there’s no fault directly under the schoobrary site. Greenhalgh said the building was also designed with special measures to help it withstand earthquakes, such as larger beams and columns. The exact parameters are based on an analysis factoring in the size of the fault and the building’s distance from the fault line.

“It makes everything bigger,” Greenhalgh said. “More concrete, more steel.”

In case you need a reminder — since it has been a week or two since I’ve written about the schoobrary — the San Diego Unified School District proposed seeking an exemption to school construction codes enacted after the 1933 Long Beach earthquake destroyed schools. The proposal prompted this scathing letter from school board member John de Beck, who said the district shouldn’t “cut corners in an earthquake zone with the safety of our kids.”

The requirements of the state code could increase the project’s costs by millions and would require a costly study to determine the effects of making the library comply with the school construction code in order to includea 300-student high school in the nine-story library.


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