State launches project to improve seismic safety at high-risk schools

    State launches project to improve seismic safety at high-risk schools. (KOMO News)

    FIFE, Wash. -- Because most schools in Washington state are in high-risk areas for earthquakes, the state just launched a project to improve seismic safety on campus.

    A science experiment outside the classroom drew seismologists to Fife High School on Thursday.

    Their goal was to test the seismic safety of the buildings.

    They made tiny earthquakes with sledge hammers to test the soil. Then structural engineers inspected the buildings.

    Fife High School is one of 220 schools the Department of Natural Resources will test in the next 10 months to see how well they would stand up to an earthquake.

    DNR then plans to pick 20 of the most at-risk schools and draw up plans for seismic improvements.

    Seventy-two percent of Washington schools are in high risk areas for earthquakes. Fife High is one of them, being built back in the 1950s.

    DNR secured $1.2 million from the state for this project. They hope a "shake up" on Thursday will mean more stability when it matters most.

    DNR hopes to finish the project next June.

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