British Columbia

Seismic upgrades in Vancouver schools costly and time-consuming: VSB

"We hope that we'll have our seismic upgrade done before the big one," says Vancouver School Board's Jim Meschino, as 69 of the city's schools remain at-risk in an earthquake.

69 schools within Vancouver School District considered at-risk in event of an earthquake

Elementary school students cover themselves under their desks during an earthquake drill. (Patrick Kane/The Associated Press)

It will take billions of dollars and many years to upgrade the 69 schools within the Vancouver School District considered to be "at-risk" in the event of an earthquake, according to the Vancouver School Board.

"We hope that we'll have our seismic upgrade done before the big one," VSB Director of Facilities Jim Meschino told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"When an earthquake will strike is anybody's guess. Our concern is, let's try and get as many done as we can."

Education Minister Peter Fassbender has created a joint office with the school board, dedicated to the upgrades, something Meschino is hopeful will speed up the process.

"That would be the best thing we can do is to get more people working on these projects and to get more projects happening at one time," Meschino said.

By the numbers

  • 69

The number of schools within the Vancouver School District considered to be at-risk

  • 3 to 5

The number of years it typically takes from the initial feasibility study to completing the upgrade.

  • $10 million to $20 million

The typical cost of upgrading an elementary school.

  • $60 million

The estimated cost to replace Kitsilano Secondary School, which is currently being rebuilt.

  • 20

The number of seismic upgrades the Vancouver School Board has completed in the past 11 years.

  • 4

The number of seismic upgrades currently under construction in Vancouver.

  • 3

The number of seismic upgrades about to proceed to construction in Vancouver.

  • 22

The number of schools in Vancouver where the feasibility study for a seismic upgrade is underway.

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