Seoul National University said Wednesday it has found cracks and other minor defects in some of its buildings.
Last month, the university carried out a safety check on six of its buildings in response to requests from student representatives of SNU’s graduate schools. The joint student council said in March that there were cracks in several of the school buildings.
SNU found cracks in the walls of a building used by the college of natural science, along with the research hall used by graduate students. The school also found that fire-resistant paint in a multimedia lecture hall had come off.
But SNU added that the buildings were not in any danger of collapsing. “There are no fissures in the buildings’ core and they are holding up extremely well,” said an SNU official.
SNU vowed to start repairing the buildings next month, and said the work was expected to be finished before the end of summer break.
Under current law, only buildings with a total floor area exceeding 30,000 square meters require regular inspections. But SNU said it is mulling whether to conduct inspections on smaller buildings via outside contractors if the government provides sufficient support.
SNU’s plans are in keeping with the government’s policy of boosting school safety in the wake of a series of school-related accidents. Nine college students lost their lives in February when the roof of a poorly built resort building collapsed on top of them.
More recently, the sinking of the ferry Sewol off the country’s southwestern coast claimed over 300 lives in one of the worst maritime disasters in the country’s history. Most of the victims were high school students on a school trip, raising concerns about the safety of school excursions.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education recently kicked off a comprehensive safety check of 2,298 educational facilities across the city. Other education offices, including ones in Sejong City and South Chungcheong Province, made moves to inspect student facilities.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)