The British Columbia government has approved a total of $7.6 million for the seismic upgrades to four schools in Vancouver and Surrey. The seismic work include the creation of shear walls, upgrades to roof diaphragms, and improved connections between the roof, floors, walls and foundations. Presently, 93 seismic projects across the province have been completed, or under construction, or are in proceeding to construction.

“We continue to work towards making our schools safer for students and staff,” said education minister Shirley Bond. “The work that will be done on these four schools is part of the most comprehensive plan for school seismic upgrades in B.C.’s history.”

Upgrades to each of these schools are anticipated to begin in 2009:

Britannia Elementary, Vancouver: $1.5 million;

Sir James Douglas Annex, Vancouver: $1.9 million;

Total Education, Vancouver: $2 million;

McLeod Road Elementary, Surrey: $2.2 million.

“These projects are the latest in our extensive 15-year plan to improve structural stability at British Columbia’s schools,” said Vancouver-Fraserview MLA Wally Oppal. “Seismic upgrades to these schools will make for safer learning and working environments.”

Since 2001, 25 capital and seismic projects worth $81.5 million have been completed in the Vancouver school district, and 31 capital and seismic projects including site acquisitions and land purchases worth $171 million have been completed in the Surrey school district.

“Ensuring the safety of all those who make use of our schools is of the utmost importance,” said Surrey-Tynehead MLA Dave S. Hayer. “This is an invaluable investment in McLeod Road Elementary’s students, the school itself and our community.”

During the same period, the province has spent over $1.4 billion to complete 73 new and replacement schools, 147 additions, 25 renovation projects and 20 site acquisitions across British Columbia. All new and replacement schools have been constructed to meet the latest seismic standards.

In addition, every year, the Province provides a total of $5 million to districts in seismic-designated zones to complete “non-structural” seismic work. This includes work such as attaching cabinets to walls, covering windows with protective film and securing lights. By the end of 2008/09, the Province will have committed more than $3.1 billion in school capital and maintenance projects across British Columbia.