Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

Shaking up Timpview

On March 18th, many Timpview students woke up with their beds shaking. They would soon find out that there had been a 5.7 magnitude earthquake, centered in Manga, Utah, but felt all the way down to Utah Valley. Despite a substantial amount of damage closer to Magna, there was little to no damage reported in Provo, including the already structurally ailing Timpview.

According to Director of Communications for Provo City School District Caleb Price, after maintenance staff cleared the building, it was found that the earthquake “didn’t cause any new damage or accelerate [any existing] damage.”

Although the earthquake didn’t cause any further damage, it calls to question what future seismic activity could do. Because the building’s foundation rests on clay, the shifting of the building has led to cracks in stonework and concrete throughout the school, threatening the safety aspect of the building. In April 2017, pieces of stonework crashed through the ceiling in the library. Luckily no one was injured, but someone very well could have been.

A 2018 structural evaluation done on Timpview notes, “the existence of concrete double tees framing the roof over the south gym and framing the floors in some of the classroom wings.” It states further that “during a seismic event, the probability is high that the heavy double tees will shift off the walls. This type of collapse would likely cause fatalities if the building were occupied during the seismic event.” So Timpview isn’t earthquake safe.

This last earthquake may not have been powerful enough to impact Timpview in a significant way, but what about the massive overdue earthquake we’ve all been hearing about since elementary school?

A 2016 report by The Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities (WGUEP) states, “There is a 43 percent probability that the Wasatch Front region will experience at least one [magnitude] 6.75 or greater earthquake in the next 50 years.” The effects of this earthquake would be drastic and coupled with the current state of Timpview’s infrastructure, there would be a lot more damage.

Provo City School District has attempted to draw attention to Timpview’s condition in the past by proposing a bond to rebuild Timpview (in addition to rebuilding Dixon Middle school and adding safety measures to countless others), which was rejected last November. They could choose to try to pass another bond, but because of the economic downturn, it seems unlikely it would pass.

In Timpview’s current state, it seems unlikely that it would survive any future larger earthquake and if the building were occupied, it could result in injury.

In addressing potential repairs to Timpview, school board member Nate Bryson wrote, “Utah Division of State Risk has said that they will not insure us after this school year, effectively condemning the school. So, we need to make a decision.” Besides rebuilding the school, he explains, the school board has discussed options to make Timpview safer, the first being a “3-7-year band-aide fix” costing $13-20 million. Another option includes transfering students to portables while they rebuild select portions of the school ($85 million). They’re also looking at putting pillars underneath the entire school ($55-80 million) which would buy us around 10-15 years before further repairs would need to be made.

The effect of any of these repairs would be a safer Timpview (at least for a time), and hopefully provide protection against any future earthquakes. The school board has not come out with any decisions as of yet, but we can only hope that a decision can be reached and put into place before any larger earthquake hits Timpview.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Thunderbolt Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    A student @ TimpviewApr 6, 2020 at 11:53 AM

    Kids today already deal with bullying, trying to fit in, school work, sports, hoping the building doesn’t get shot up, etc, now we have to worry about the school falling apart with us inside.