BANDON – Work is underway to make Ocean Crest Elementary School more stable in the event of an earthquake.

A $1.4 million seismic retrofit began on the school before classes ended this spring. Scott Partney Construction of Coos Bay received the bid to do the work on the 1939 building.

The $1.4 million grant is the second in a round of three large monetary awards received by the Bandon School District from the Infrastrucutre Finance Authority, a division of Business Oregon, through the Oregon Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program.

The work at Ocean Crest involves stabilizing the trusses and foundation in the main building, which includes most of the classrooms except the most recently construction addition at the north end of the building.

The building will also receive a new roof and siding, according to Superintendent Doug Ardiana.

“This work is from the outside in, whereas the work at Bandon High School was from the inside out,” Ardiana said. “We learned from the high school work,” he added, referring to some issues that delayed the completion of the BHS retrofit.

“We're very excited to have an earthquake resistant school and have a new look at Ocean Crest,” Ardiana said.

Some trees in front of the building were taken down to accommodate the repairs, which employees at the building said created more light inside the building from the east. In addition, some single-pane windows will be getting replaced, though most of the classroom windows were already upgraded several years ago.

“There will be some window work,” Ardiana said. “We hope to be up and running before school begins in the fall. We expect the completion to be by the end of August.”

With the first grant the district received of $824,496, seismic rehabilitation work was completed at Bandon High School in the summer of 2016. BHS was the first school in the district to be retrofitted. The work was intended to correct structural deficiencies in certain areas of BHS's classroom building. The building was built in 1974.

In April 2016, the Bandon School District received a $1.4 million grant to retrofit Ocean Crest.

This April, the committee overseeing Oregon's Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program announced that another 100 schools and 47 emergency services facilities will receive $153.6 million in state grant funds.

The Bandon School District was again awarded grants, this round to do retrofits at the BHS gym building and at Harbor Lights Middle School. The BHS gym grant is in the amount of $1,358,600 and the HLMS grant is for $1,269,217.

The grants are part of dozens awarded over the past two years and are intended to fund seismic rehabilitation construction for critical public buildings to better prepare the structures to withstand a major earthquake, particularly public schools and emergency service facilities.

The realization that Oregon is at risk of a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake drove the bipartisan effort to invest now to protect critical community structures from catastrophic damage. Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Legislature, led by support from Sens. Peter Courtney and Ted Ferrioli, are helping to address the issue by prioritizing funding to increase statewide resilience and promote community preparedness.

The April awards were the second round of funding released through the program this biennium, which is administered by Business Oregon. Schools throughout Oregon received $50 million for 41 retrofit projects last April, the first phase of $205 million in program funding established in this biennium's budget. Before the April awards, the program has made 118 awards totaling $108 million.

“In the last year, we have more than tripled Oregon’s investment in the seismic safety of our schools. It’s taken 15 years to get here. It’s still not enough. Hundreds of schools still need to be upgraded,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney. “We can’t lose our momentum. We have to make up for lost time. The ‘Really Big One’ is coming. It’s overdue. The Legislature needs to make another significant investment in the safety of Oregon’s school children before this session is over. We have to make our schools safe.”

"Oregonians have been hearing about 'The Big One' for so many years, many may have grown tone-deaf and complacent. But our emergency planners are telling us 'It's real, and it's coming!'” said State Senator Ted Ferrioli. "Communities need to prepare by making sure schools have been seismically retrofitted so they won't 'pancake' during a large quake. These buildings must survive, not only to protect children, but so they'll be available to serve as emergency operations centers, field hospitals, rendezvous points for families, and places where community response can be coordinated. Then we must also turn our attention to police stations, fire halls and ambulance centers from which 'First Responders' are dispatched."

The seismic rehabilitation program began funding projects in 2009. Details on how the program works, eligibility, process and history can be found on the program web page.

South Coast School Projects Funded April 21, 2017

Bandon School District-Bandon High School Gym $1,358,600

Bandon School District-Harbor Lights Middle School $1,269,217

Brookings Harbor School District-Azalea Middle School $1,498,200

Brookings Harbor School District-Brookings Harbor HS Gym $1,499,800

Central Curry School District-Gold Beach High School $1,498,345

Coos Bay School District-Marshfield HS Auditorium $963,779

Coos Bay School District-Marshfield High School Gym $1,500,000

North Bend School District-North Bend HS Gym $1,497,601

Port Orford-Langlois SD-Pacific High School $1,499,410

Powers School District-Powers High School $1,498,720

Reedsport School District-Highland Elementary $1,496,895

Reedsport School District-Reedsport Comm. Charter Gym #1 $1,499,775

Reedsport School District-Reedsport Comm. Charter Gym #2 $1,256,580

South Coast Emergency Services Projects Funded April 21, 2017:

City of Brookings-Police and Fire Rescue $1,287,988

Coos County Sheriff-Coquille EOC/Dispatch Bldg. $595,500

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