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When we walk into a school classroom, most of us judge whether the kids are cramped or the space is too hot. How often do we ask whether the building can withstand an earthquake?

It's not a silly question. If a school's seismic status is left unknown, we will regret that we didn't treat the status as more important should the building fail in an earthquake.

HB278, which has stalled in the Utah House, chips away at the mandate to reveal whether a school building is safe by requiring districts to submit seismic reports on buildings constructed before 1975 — but only if the district is issuing new bonds ("Seismic study bill moves to full House," Tribune, Feb. 6).

Gov. Gary Herbert has said we need to do more. His 2013-2014 budget asks for funds to survey all Utah schools, not just those in districts considering new bonds. It's time to ensure that all Utah school children and employees are in earthquake-safe structures.

Barry Welliver


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