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CoreFirst LLC has introduced a proprietary seismic upgrade retrofit system that can be installed in schools and commercial facilities. The system consists of modular, steel constructed, “cartridge” style safe zones that are installed into existing buildings to upgrade the ability of these structures to withstand a seismic event.
Kaiser, a Portland, OR-based registered architect and design/build contractor, developed this patent pending system in conjunction with KPFF Consulting Engineers to provide a cost-effective solution to the funding challenges related to seismically upgrading aging school facilities.
“We know that school district budgets up and down the entire west coast have been hit hard by the economy,” Kaiser said. “Seismic upgrades have been shoved down the list of priorities because they’re extremely costly and require an entire school to be displaced for a year to complete. Our idea was to develop a system that could be installed over a summer and cost about 25% of a conventional upgrade.”
The modular safe zones are built off-site and inserted through the roof of an existing facility. The cartridges, (seen in green in this photo) which are located adjacent to classrooms and common areas (in the case of a school), provide protection in the event of a structural collapse. Within the cartridges are communication devices (shortwave radio) as well as first aid supplies.
In tandem with the CoreFirst installation, all exit ways are strengthened (brickwork, soffits, cornices) to prevent injury while exiting the facility.
CoreFirst LLC has been working with Portland Public Schools to study a potential pilot project at Boise-Eliot School, an elementary school in North Portland.