Elementary school in Berkeley could move as much as 20 feet during earthquake 

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- On a hilly, tree-lined street in Berkeley is Oxford Elementary. A charming location, but also a potentially dangerous one.

According to a newly released geotechnical report commissioned by the Berkeley Unified School District, the nearly 120-year-old school is at risk of major damage during an earthquake. The report shows the foundation of the school could move as much as 20 feet.

Parents at the school are worried by the findings.

"That is a huge concern," Lleul Afework said while picking up his two sons from school Friday afternoon.

"That is pretty scary," Pilar Fisher, who has two daughters at the school, said. "That is pretty detrimental."

Fisher is on the PTA. She said for the past few years the District has talked about retrofitting the school and moving students to a temporary location.

"I think just with budgeting and things like that, they've kind of been pushing it," Fisher explained.

Pilar hopes this will push the District to move forward with those plans.

The District says the school-- which was rebuilt in 1964-- is in compliance with state earthquake safety requirements. This report, they say, reveals an elevated risk for the school, which is in a known landslide zone.

In a message to parents and staff, the superintendent said the plan is to keep students at the current site for the remainder of the school year. A possible long-term plan would is to move students to the nearby West Campus site on University Ave.

"The District is committed to providing fair and transparent representation of what we have learned and how we are thinking about it," District spokesperson Trish McDermott told ABC7 News.

The report is expected to be addressed at an upcoming school board meeting on October 23rd. Parents are expected to attend.

"I hope this is going to be the push that drives them to get this done," Fisher said of the upgrades. "The safety of our kids is definitely very important to us and we don't want it to happen, something drastic to happen, and to say, 'Oh we should have taken immediate action.' This is serious."
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