Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 19, 2017

Know what we know

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

There’s a new press release from the School District and it doesn’t look like any of the newly available, along with the old information, will substantially change the recommendation with regard to Lum Elementary.

From the Press Release:

In a letter to the Board of Education of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), a second structural engineering firm recommended yesterday that the district develop a plan for moving Lum Elementary School students off their campus.

The firm, Murphy Burr Curry, Inc., has extensive experience analyzing and retrofitting educational facilities. Steven Curry, who authored the letter, is vice president of the firm.

In his letter, which is posted on the AUSD website, Mr. Curry noted that the “type of construction [of Lum buildings] is not well suited for differential settlements of the order of the magnitude expected. The existing foundations do not appear to have the capacity or interconnected layout to mitigate the expected differential settlement.” As a result, he explained in the letter, “The wall and roof framing would be subjected to the same differential movement. This could result in life-safety concerns, such as partial roof collapse due to roof beams or joists becoming unseated from their connections or hangers.

“Given the life safety and egress concerns outlined above,” Mr. Curry continued, “we agree that the district develop a plan to provide alternate accommodations for students and faculty and/or if feasible, perform a seismic foundation retrofit.”

The new letter is here.  Which now brings the professional “move kids from Lum” count to three.  The initial recommendation, the peer review of that recommendation, and the new recommendation.   I will note that this recommendation is also a peer review, so if there are issues with the initial findings then I don’t think that it will do much to convince those that are not sold on the initial structural engineering report.

As a reminder, the School Board is meeting on Tuesday to make a decision on Lum.  Suffice it to say, it will not be easy or pretty, but I think there’s a good crop of folks on the School Board now that are willing to make difficult decisions based on the available information.  And right now, all the available information — notwithstanding the information that has been floated by the Lum DAC — is pointing at a closure as the most legally defensible decision for the School Board.

As an aside, has anyone seen the Run DMC inspired “Save Lum” poster. Majority creativity points right there.




  1. I’m praying that there are no earthquakes before the end of the year. For me the risk is too great. My husband went to Lum. I get the emotional attachment and the fear of having to make a big change, but it’s easier to adjust to a new school than to expect a kid to adjust to a major injury.

    I have a friend whose daughter was in that school that collapsed in Oklahoma in a tornado. That girl lost friends right before her eyes. That hasn’t been easy for her to recover from. When we know that there’s a great risk of injury at a school in an earthquake? You don’t have to tell me twice.

    Comment by Angela — May 19, 2017 @ 6:36 am

    • I bet you that the school in Oklahoma complied with all life safety regulations. Just like Lum and all other schools in Alameda are Field-Act compliant. In the event of the big earthquake Lum is probably one of the few structures in Alameda still standing that could be used as shelter according to experts in safety with no financial stake in the case. Since the field-act of 1933 there has been no fatalities due to earthquakes in any California school and there has been not a single collapse. Lum is Field-act compliant and the engineers hired by the district recognize that in their letters.

      Comment by Oliver — May 19, 2017 @ 3:08 pm

  2. There are only 2 letters. The original and this new review. Both are just opinions with no analysis backing up the statement of collapse. This second letter is biased because the district gave the reviewers the initial letter that said that the school may collapse. No company will present a review that contradicts a (unfounded) risk of collapse.
    The other statement that says that there is nothing that can be done to retrofit the school was rebutted by a company called Smith Engineering that presented a cost effective retrofit project that could be done while the kids are at school ( This company specializes in retrofit of buildings with hundreds of successful stories around the bay area. They have no financial stake on this nor they belong to the school.
    Finally your comment about creativity is pretty lame.

    Comment by Oliver — May 19, 2017 @ 2:55 pm

    • I have a friend who knows another friend’s daughter who said that their doghouse shifted during the Loma prieta earthquake and the dog caught it’s tail in the shift and lost part of it’s tail.

      Comment by jack — May 19, 2017 @ 5:56 pm

    • I’m curious. What is the metric for “cost effectiveness” of the Smith Engineering retrofit?

      And I would assume the “successful stories” are buildings that they retrofit that safely survived major earthquakes since that is the purpose of their projects. Care to link us to some of those stories?

      Comment by brock — May 20, 2017 @ 12:41 pm

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