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School Board Votes to Close Lum School

Board votes to close Lum school. (Photo: Action Alameda News)

The Board of Trustees for the Alameda Unified School District unanimously voted to close Lum elementary school on Tuesday evening.

The vote came after soil samples, taken in advance of the construction of new classrooms at the site, and subsequent engineering evaluations, concluded that the building foundations would not withstand soil liquefaction in the event of a strong earthquake.

The district’s engineering firms said that in the event of an earthquake, the buildings could settle into the soil unequally, distorting the buildings frames, making doors unoperable and trapping students inside.

A parents committee pulled in its own experts who disputed the findings, and fought to keep the school open, saying the other schools that students would be moved to are no safer.

A media release from the district yesterday said that students would be moved off the campus for the coming 2017 to 2018 school year, and left the door open to retrofitting and re-opening the school, with a statement from board president Gary Lym, “it’s important for all of us to remember that we aren’t closing the school permanently.”

Lym also talked about remediation of the site during the meeting:

However, the resolution before the board on Tuesday night spoke of creating a “District Advisory Committee…tasked with considering the long-term facilities needs of the District, including possible future uses for the Lum site.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Joe Keiser of the parent committee, said that if the district closed the school, “we’ll just have to hope for the best”; he said his committee and the Lum PTA would work to help parents adjust to the closure.

The school district now moves on to the re-location plan for Lum students, which includes moving K-3 students to nearby elementary schools, but possibly hosting 4th and 5th graders at Wood Middle School, right next door to Lum.

The district says that Lum families should know their new school in the first week of June.

2 comments to School Board Votes to Close Lum School

  • carol

    The last strong quake, Loma Prieta, was in 1989. Now, in 2017, Lum School is suddenly an emergent problem? Why did it take so long–28 years!– to figure this out? Why now?
    Somebody is going to make a lot of money off this non-emergency and the “Chicken Little” attitude of our school board.

  • R.Beck

    If I remember correctly, did they not put new roofs on all the Lum school buildings last year ? what a waste of our parcel tax money.

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