The reconstruction of main buildings of a school that was destroyed in last year's earthquake was completed Monday in southwest China's Sichuan Province, with a strong seismic resistance level.
Construction workers pour concrete to a building of the new Beichuan Middle School, in Beichuan county, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Dec. 28, 2009. [Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua]
The new school in the Beichuan county, covering 15 hectares, will have three teaching buildings, four dormitory buildings, an office building, a library, an auditorium, and a memorial hall.
It will also have two playgrounds and a memorial square.
The project is expected to cost 200 million yuan (29.4 million U.S. dollars), said Zhang Fangyao, the project manager.
"The new school will have a floor space of 720,000 square meters and can enroll 5,200 students," he said.
"It is scheduled to be put into use on Sept. 1 next year," he said.
The school was funded by the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese.
The reconstruction started at 2:28 p.m. on May 12 this year, the exact moment the 8.0-magnitude quake struck Wenchuan county of Sichuan a year ago.
More than 1,300 of the old school's 2,900 students and teachers were killed or left missing in the rubble of the collapsed schools buildings. Surviving students have attended classes in temporary pre-fab structures in the suburb of Mianyang City since shortly after the disaster.
The new Beichuan Middle School was the first project to be built in the new seat of Beichuan County. The new seat is between Yong'an Township and Anchang Township, about 23 km from the former county seat, one of the worst-hit areas in the quake.
"The new school buildings can withstand the impact of a quake of 8 grades on the intensity scale," Zhang said.
A quake is measured by its magnitude and intensity. The magnitude indicates the amount of energy released at the source, or the epicenter,and is measured by the Richter Scale.
The intensity of a quake at a particular locality indicates the violence of earth motion produced there by the quake. It is determined from reported effects of the tremor on human beings, furniture, buildings, geological structure and others.
Many countries and regions adopt the Modified Mercalli Scale (MMS) that classifies earthquake effects into 12 grades. China also uses a 12 grade intensity scale similar to MMS.
Residential buildings in the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu were designed with a resistance level of 7 grades on the intensity scale, which means a quake can cause negligible damage in buildings of good design and construction, and slight or moderate damage in well-built ordinary structures.
A quake of 8 or 9 grades on the intensity scale can lead to considerable damage in specially-designed structures with partial collapse.
The quake on May 12 last year, measuring 8.0 on the Richter Scale and up to 11 in terms of intensity, left nearly 80,000 people dead or missing and millions homeless.
The quake also flattened school buildings and claimed the lives of students and teachers.