School building codes..

Asked by Home_seeker, Santa Clara, CA Tue Apr 26, 2011

I see this in the CA department of education web site, building codes for schools:

"The site is not subject to moderate to high liquefaction or landslides."

But, aren't both Ardenwood Elementary and Forest Park Elementary on soil marked with high liquefaction susceptibility?

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Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sun May 8, 2011

Carl was right to disagree with me! I was thinking "Liquefaction Zone" and typed something completely different and incorrect. However, the site I provided for confirming liquefaction status was correct and if you had submitted Ardenwood and Forest Park addresses this would have quickly become evident.

Carl did bring up a rather important point regarding street configurations and mapping chronology. So, I did some more digging and found another great source (made available by the Assoc. of Bay Area Governments) you can reference to address this concern and further confirm liquefaction susceptibility for both schools:

1) Bring up this map to see where both schools are located.

2) In a 2nd window bring up this interactive liquefaction map for the Bay Area

3) Using the first map as a reference, drill down to the area where both schools are located on the 2nd Map and you will soon see that both schools are in a HIGH susceptibility area – at least according to ABAG that is.

If you like, to the left of the “school bus” icon at the top of the page you can enter an address to place each school on the map:
Ardenwood: 33955 Emilia Lane, Fremont, CA 94555
Forest Park: 34400 Maybird Circle, Fremont, CA 94555

Best, Steve
0 votes
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sun May 8, 2011
Home Seeker:

Although I highly respect Steve, I’m going to have to disagree with him on this one. Neither of these schools is in a potential “Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazard Zone.” This is typical of hilly regions, however, both schools are on totally flat sections of ground with no hills within a reasonable distance. There is simply nothing to slide.

On the other hand, you have stated that the area under both schools shows High for liquefaction susceptibility. Of the countless Natural Hazard Reports we’ve pulled for the Ardenwood area, all have shown the area to be susceptible to potential liquefaction, but many have not made the distinction between Moderate or High. While some NHD companies provide the actual level, many do not unless it is Very High.

You can confirm the correct level at the following link:

One of the problems with this data shown on the link above is that it does not show the current street configurations for the Ardenwood area or CA 84. This makes me believe that the map predates 1979, when Ardenwood was built, or 1986 when the Forest Park section of Ardenwood was started and the CA 84 connector to I-880 was completed. For this reason, I’m not sure I’d trust it completely.

On the other hand, Moderate to High conditions are considered “normative” for much of the Bay Area as a whole.

In contrast, if you look at cities such as Foster City, the majority of the city is categorized Very High.
0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Apr 26, 2011

The following site confirms that both schools ARE in "Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazard" zones:

Best, Steve
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