101 schools in Groningen need action because of earthquake risk

Photo: Graham Dockery
Photo: Graham Dockery

Over €290m has been earmarked to shore up or rebuild schools in Groningen which are considered at risk of earthquakes.

Thousands of buildings in the province need reinforcing because of the earthquakes and schools are a top priority, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said in a briefing to parliament.

In total, 101 schools require action to make sure they can withstand earthquakes caused by the ground settling following the extraction of natural gas, according to an official government report.

Of them, 41 buildings will be reinforced and 60 demolished and replaced by 29 purpose built schools. Some schools will merge as the government also acts to deal with falling pupil numbers.

‘Groningen faces two challenges – the earthquake damage and a shrinking population,’ junior education minister Sander Dekker said. ‘This is not just about concreting over the gaps but creating good, new schools so that Groningen children can go to safe, modern buildings which will last for decades.’

NAM, the joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil which has the gas licence in the province, will pay €172.5m of the total bill. National government will pay €73.5m and the rest will come from local councils.

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