I remember the building shaking and the frightened screams of my Lowell School classmates as if it were yesterday. The day was April 13, 1949 and the great 7.1 earthquake that rumbled through Western Washington had begun.
My classmate, Marvin Klegman, was tragically killed that day, and all the kids at school were traumatized.
Fortunately, the center of the quake was not nearer to the surface and, thus, the potential effect on the original Lowell Elementary School, with its condemned upper floors, was limited. Many teachers and students could very well have lost their lives on that terrible day. The entire school was then condemned and razed as a result.
Today’s engineers understand how to seismically upgrade school buildings to make them safe when the next major quake hits – which could be any day. The bond money at stake in Tacoma School District’s Proposition One will provide those needed safeguards for those schools that need it – like the original Lowell Elementary School – in this earthquake-prone area.
Please vote yes on Proposition One to help keep our kids safe.
(Baarsma is a former mayor of Tacoma.)