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New details emerge about potential fault line under elementary school in Paso Robles

georgia brown elementary school.JPG
Posted at 10:40 AM, May 24, 2023

The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) has voted to delay a planned remodel of an elementary school due to geological concerns in the area.

In a 6-1 vote Tuesday, the school board voted to delay designs for a remodel at Georgia Brown Elementary as well as plans to relocate students and staff. The situation will be discussed in depth at a future meeting.

This comes after a geohazard soils study found an "anomalous feature" directly under the elementary school.

There are now plans to drill down and find out exactly what the anomaly is.

On the surface, it seems like a normal school, but an underground discovery is raising eyebrows at Georgia Brown Elementary. A red line drawn on a map shows a recently discovered underground trench that could be part of a fault line or something else.

“And until we dig down and see what that anomaly is, it could be one of many things. It could be a fault. It could be part of the Salinas Riverbed from many thousands of years ago,” explained Brad Pawlowski, PRJUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

Right now, there are school buildings right on the top of the anomaly.

If this is confirmed to be a fault line, officials say some buildings would have to be moved and rebuilt. Other buildings would need to be retrofitted.

“We can’t say with certainty until we actually do some visual inspections and trenching that it is a fault line,” Pawlowski said.

The district says that the school is currently safe for students and staff.

Right now, there are no plans to relocate but that could change with further testing.

An excavation company will have to drill down to the trench to find out if it is an active fault. That drilling will also narrow down the exact depth and location of the anomaly.

An excavation company will be conducting a site inspection Wednesday at Georgia Brown Elementary School.