Delhi is located in a high seismic hazard zone, and thousands of school buildings are vulnerable to severe damage in an earthquake. We guided the seismic retrofit at a large school in the Delhi region, as part of a project to improve earthquake preparedness in the nation’s capital.
The cost to seismically retrofit a school is generally less than the cost to build a new, earthquake resistant school. However, there were few examples of how to effectively retrofit a large school with a complex structure.
Retrofit solutions used at this school can be studied and applied elsewhere. Called Ludlow Castle School at the time, it’s now Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya at Raj Niwas Marg. It was selected for its size (3 stories and 1,000 students), its intended function as a post-disaster refuge, and because it is a typical building type.
The project provided on-the-job training in retrofit methods for city engineers. Solutions consisted of micro-concrete (made with cement and sand instead of rocks), “seismic belts,” and corner reinforcements to tie the walls together so they will act like a box and resist earthquake forces.
Students did not to miss a day of class, because school administrators carefully coordinated with contractors, who worked around school hours. The project was a career catalyst for the contractor and engineer in charge. They have gone on to retrofit more schools as well as heritage structures in Northeast India using similar methods.
The government of New Delhi has designated Ludlow a “model safe school” for earthquake risk reduction. Delegations from across India and the region have visited to study its retrofit process. And earthquake safety training manuals, produced for this project, have been distributed to thousands of educators around the country. The manuals show inexpensive steps to reduce risks from falling objects in school buildings and at home.
As students graduate from this school, they are likely to become ambassadors for earthquake safety. In class they were taught how to use a fire extinguisher, help their families prepare family emergency kits, and involve their neighbors in earthquake safety.
Made possible by the generous support of the American People.
The Government of the National Capital Territory of New Delhi, and the Delhi Public Works Department also provided funding.
Students study a building model on a shake table and learn how unsecured items inside the building become dangerous during an earthquake.
Ludlow Castle School Retrofit
New Delhi, India (Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya at Raj Niwas Marg)
2002 - 2008, plus ongoing demonstration