EARTHQUAKES

Earthquake damage nears $50 million in Salt Lake County

Apr 10, 2020, 11:40 AM
Officials with the state’s Division of Facilities Construction and Management surveying damage at...
Officials with the state’s Division of Facilities Construction and Management surveying damage at the Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 9, 2020. (PHOTO: Deseret News)
(PHOTO: Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — We’re getting a better damage estimate from last month’s earthquake in Magna. In Salt Lake County alone, the destruction left behind by the 5.7 magnitude earthquake is nearing $50 million dollars.

Widespread earthquake damage

Right now, it’s at $48.5 million, but that figure is continuing to rise, according to Clint Mecham, Salt Lake County Emergency Management division chief.

Inspectors are finding the quake has damaged 107 government buildings, but that doesn’t even include homes and businesses. There also are dozens of schools impacted and officials say the Granite School District is getting the worst of it.

Two different stories

Officials are still assessing damage at two of their schools, Cyprus High School in Magna and West Lake STEM Junior High.

Ben Horsley, the spokesperson for the district, recently told the Deseret News the most significant damage to Cyprus High School was to an exterior wall near the school’s swimming pool and damage to the school library. First, plans include shoring up the exterior wall in the pool area. Next, the plan is to rebuild the wall “so the school can continue to be used for the next four years until the new school opens.”

West Lake STEM Junior High is facing a murkier future. Horsley says West Lake may need to be entirely rebuilt. Early estimates indicate it sustained around $1 million worth of damage.

Officials are expecting it to make up a “significant portion” of the county’s $48.5 million damage estimate of public buildings. The school is still being evaluated by structural engineers and state officials.

“This is literally a situation where the state is our insurance agent and will evaluate a lot of data to decide how to proceed,” – Horsley says.

For now, the school district is “proceeding with plans to relocate the students for up to two years.”

Horsley adds there is also “cosmetic damage” at more than 20 other school district buildings.

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