Calif. County Earthquakes Highlight Unresolved School Risks

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The swarm of earthquakes that rippled through Imperial County in late August has exposed more fissures in the state's system for identifying and fixing school buildings considered structurally unsound.

At Brawley Union High School, an Aug. 27 inspection of the school's auditorium by state and district engineers found cracked walls, toppled fixtures and chunks of ceiling plaster littered across floors, seats and the performance stage. The auditorium has yet to reopen. School officials estimate the building could be closed for a full year.

The damage to Palmer Auditorium occurred when 400 small earthquakes erupted from Aug. 25 to Aug. 28 in Brawley and other areas in Imperial County. There were no deaths or major injuries, but scattered power outages occurred. One hospital temporarily evacuated its patients.

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