In 2018 when a strong earthquake occurred in Po-hang, university buildings in downtown Po-hang collapsed. According to the Education Ministry’s data released last November, data showed that some national universities buildings in north Chung-cheong Province did not meet the safety standards for earthquakes. Experts argue that Korea is no longer safe from earthquakes. To find out if Seowon University is safe and what efforts people were making to prevent damages or accidents from the earthquake, The Seowon News interviewed a worker at Seowon University’s facility safety team.
First of all, when asked about the degree of earthquake-resistant design of the campus buildings, he replied that it was based on a legal basis. Seismic design by the legal ground means that it is designed to meet the conditions set out in a given year. Specifically, in 1996, according to the Article 32 of the Enforcement Ordinance of the Building Act, it requires seismic design only for buildings with six floors or more. Therefore, old buildings including the College of Education do not satisfy the condition because these buildings have less than six stories.
However, since 2005, the law has changed, so it demands the earthquake-resistant design for new buildings. The Mok-min dormitory, the Global Building, the Future Creation Center, and the College of Arts are currently meeting the standards of earthquake-resistant design, so they are considered safe.
For old buildings, construction should be carried out if seismic repair is required, but so far there is no problem. The worker in the safety team of the campus said Seowon should consider some complex problems, including budget issues, to determine if building construction can be carried out. So, long term planning is needed, and implementation of the plan would take a long time.
Finally, the facility safety worker explained to our students about some useful tips and ways to survive if an earthquake was to happen. “When an earthquake occurs, moving to the widest place is the best way to survive. You should move to the widest places such as the field or parking lot. If you can’t move, it’s best to stay under your desks until the earthquake becomes weak and then move to larger places”.