SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has unveiled public safety plans that entail the construction of 108 school gyms and a handful of facilities dedicated to safety training.
Armed with a budget of 250 billion won, the city aims to complete construction of the gymnasiums by 2020. The candidate schools span all levels from elementary to high school, and include special needs institutions (eight candidate schools possess smaller exercise facilities).
There are currently 1,339 schools in Seoul, of which 83 percent (1,112) already have gyms. This figure holds true for the most part when looking at elementary, middle and high schools, with the exception of special needs institutions, of which only 48.7 percent are equipped with gymnasiums.
These structures, intended as safe spaces where children do not need to worry about exposure to fine dust air pollution, will also in times of emergency serve as disaster relief shelters for the surrounding community. For this purpose, the gymnasiums are to be designed as earthquake-resistant to “peak levels”.
A total of 127 schools have been excluded from the government’s plan due to factors such as limited geographical availability and holding statuses (private schools) that remove them from mid-to-long term government programs. Through detailed inspections, the government will build gymnasiums tailored to their various needs and characteristics by 2023.
Further ramping up public safety efforts, Seoul’s education authority is planning a program to supply air pollution masks as well as air purifiers; it will also carry out examinations of the study and play environments for children 13 years old or younger to ensure the absence of hazardous elements.
Pertaining to safety training, the city has laid out the goal of establishing a “comprehensive safety experience” center in western Seoul. The site will be the first of its kind to be run by the local government and funded by the Office of Education. Scheduled to open in 2022, the facility is expected to attract 72,000 visitors every year.
A smaller center and three unused classrooms will also be used to boost safety training. In conjunction with the expansion of facilities, safety training exercises will be held more frequently, with the 5.1 years in between exercises held shortened to 3.4 years.