Seismic concerns may cause closure of 6 Charleston schools (updated x3)

Image by USGS A photo after the 1886 quake in Charleston, shot shows a fissure and a wrecked brick house on Tradd Street.

Update May 11: And the saga continues.

Update May 5: The Post and Courier has an expanded article on the decisions the Charleston County School Board's made during their meeting on the temporary relocation options for five schools with seismic problems.

Read it here.

Update May 4: The Charleston City Paper is doing live coverage and frequent updates from the special meeting on quake relocation specifics for downtown Charleston schools.

Thus far, the board has approved moving Memminger and James Simmons elementary schools to trailer sites at Mitchell and Marlowe parks by January 2011. Buist, Charleston Progressive, and Sullivan's Island should be able to relocate in August.

The Post and Courier has a post on the relocation plans as well.

Update March 23:

The Charleston County School Board has committed to reallocating unused money from current construction programs toward fortifying schools with seismic deficiencies.

The entire board supports making upgrades to seismically vulnerable schools, but they want a more complete plan before they vote on where to move the students during constrction. The cost of repairing or replacing the schools is going to cost between $134 million and $169 million, and will take at least three years.

The Post and Courier has an article exploring the options at hand.

First reporting:

In 1886 Charleston experienced a massive quake estimated at 7.6 magnitude.

And experts say another major quake will probably happen again, but that it could be 200+ years away.  

But there are no guarantees. So new construction in Charleston is built to withstand the shaking of such large quakes and particularly unstable upper soil that covers much of the Lowcountry and can liquify during quakes. 

As you can guess there are a lot of buildings in Charleston that haven't been built to withstand this double threat and some of those buildings are schools. And that's a situation that's been of key interest to the Charleston County School District. 

After studying the situation they've found six schools that need substantial work, schools that may now be closed for work as early as this summer.

The Post and Courier has a good overview of the situation and which schools are on the list; take a read of it here.

If you're new to earthquakes in Charleston, check out this S.C. DNR page.