‘Tsunami-Proof’ School Building Construction Begins on Washington Coast

January 20, 2015

Ground has been broken for a new school building on the Washington coast at Westport. Officials say the structure is designed to be tsunami-proof.

KOMO-TV reports that the planned “vertical evacuation structure” will be an addition to the Ocosta Elementary School.

School children toting shovels and clam guns were on hand for this week’s groundbreaking for the new 30-foot-tall gymnasium that will double as a safe haven in case of a tsunami. Planners say 1,000 students, staff and Westport residents will be able to fit on the rooftop platform.

A high school and lower grades all share the same property.

Emergency coordinators say a big earthquake just offshore could trigger a tsunami that could hit in 20-30 minutes.

Pile drivers plan to dig down 50 feet to provide enough structural support for the building to withstand giant waves.

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