A middle school damaged in the May 12 earthquake in Shifang City of Sichuan Province in southwest China began reconstruction on Sunday, with assistance from the Chinese Air Force.
Established in 1904, the Yinghua Town Middle School was leveled to ground in the deadly earthquake in Sichuan and some neighboring provinces, which left more than 80,000 deaths or missing.
The school is rebuilt on its original site in Yinghua Town, but will be given a new name of "Yinghua Bayi Middle School." Aug. 1, or Bayi, is the founding day of the Chinese army.
Under the unified arrangement of the central authorities, the Air Force will help rebuild the whole school compound, which covers 17,764 square meters. Facilities include teaching buildings, a cultural hall, a dining hall, dormitories for teachers and students, a comprehensive gymnasium and a basketball playground.
The school was severely damaged in the earthquake, with all the teaching and office buildings collapsing and the students' dormitory seriously cracking. The new buildings are designed to resist an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale.
So far, the Air Force has helped build a "Blue Sky Elementary School" and a "Blue Sky Old People's House" in the earthquake areas of Sichuan. It plans to build four more schools and one kindergarten in the quake-hit areas.
(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2009)