Oregon’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grant ProgramMar 06 2018 · 0 comments · NISHKIAN DEAN, Seismic ·0
Schools and emergency service buildings receive aid for seismic upgrades
By Serena Gilles, P.E.
The Oregon Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) was created to help fund seismic upgrades for educational institutions and emergency services buildings including hospitals, fire stations, and police stations. The purpose is to reduce losses in the case of a major seismic event, which has been predicted to have a 40% chance of occurring along Oregon’s Pacific coastline within the next 50 years. This program focuses on the safety of K-12 children and their educators, first responders, and hospitals that are expected to be operational following an earthquake. Higher education facilities are also eligible for funding.
One of the most critical parts of the grant application is the structural evaluation report. Applicants are required to submit a report that proposes seismic retrofit measures to address all seismic deficiencies. This report is prepared by a structural engineer following guidelines set forth in ASCE 41-13, “Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings.” The engineer combines on-site structural investigations with existing building drawings to determine if structural and non-structural components require seismic retrofit. Then, retrofit schemes are created and the cost of completion is estimated, all of which are included in the structural evaluation report that is submitted with the grant application.
Nishkian Dean has completed these evaluation reports and assisted in the completion of grant applications for dozens of schools in Oregon. Several of these schools have received funding, included many that Nishkian Dean assisted in the design and application process, and have either had a seismic retrofit completed, or are in the design or construction phases for upcoming work. Typical seismic retrofits include the addition of plywood shear walls, wall anchorage, and bracing of ceilings and mechanical equipment. All of these retrofits can be hidden from view, creating much safer spaces while having little to no effect on the existing appearance. Alternatively, selected items can be left exposed intentionally so that the structural upgrades are apparent to everyone. For example, Fowler Middle School in Tigard, Oregon, recently underwent a seismic retrofit and the school officials elected to keep the required steel bracing in the gym roof exposed (see Figure 1).
Since 2010, the Oregon SRGP has awarded $262,000,000 to 265 facilities, including over $150,000,000 awarded to 147 facilities in 2017 alone. This program is vital to these schools, fire stations, police stations, and hospitals which otherwise may not be able to fund seismic upgrades. The upgrades will undoubtedly make critical Oregon structures better prepared for seismic events. Nishkian Dean is proud to serve the community by providing cost-effect seismic solutions for these facilities.
Figure 1: Seismic bracing installed in Fowler Middle School Gym, Tigard, OR.
Photo Credit: Shane Kucera, Fortis Construction
Fowler Middle School Seismic Upgrades Project Team:
- Architect: Bora Architects, Portland, OR.
- Structural Engineer: Nishkian Dean, Portland, OR.
- General Contractor: Fortis Construction, Inc., Portland, OR.
Serena Gilles is a Project Engineer with Nishkian Dean
Business Oregon. (2017, September). Oregon’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program: Guidance for Engineering Reports.
Business Oregon. Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program, from <http://www.orinfrastructure.org/Infrastructure-Programs/Seismic-Rehab/>
Oregon Office of Emergency Management. Cascadia Subduction Zone, from <http://www.oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep/Pages/Cascadia-Subduction-Zone.aspx