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Constructing earthquake-safe buildings can be pretty important along the Wasatch Front, especially in schools, where a large portion of the state's population congregates daily.

To guarantee that Provo schools meet building codes and can withstand earthquakes, the Provo Board of Education voted this week to tear down the old wood shop at Dixon Middle School instead of trying to make it safe.Phil Lott, director of facilities and transportation for the district, said structural damage has occurred on the northeast wing of the school from settling that began about 10 years ago.

"There is no structural danger today, but down the road if we wanted to add onto the school, we couldn't guarantee that it would withstand an earthquake," Lott said.

School board members voted to tear down and rebuild after touring the school this week.

Lott said the building shift is evident from small cracks that have developed below the roof line. He said recently a new door was put in the shop building, and it had to be planed to fit because of the slippage.

"To try to bring it up to code would cost approximately what it would cost to tear down and build a new classroom," Lott said. "This way we can build a new classroom that is better insulated and will meet modern-day needs.

Dixon Middle School, 750 W. Second North, was built in 1930 and has been added onto three times since then. The area to be torn down was the original school gymnasium.

Lynn Smith, district business administrator, said the board will not make a decision on reconstruction until a study is complete.

There is a possibility, however, that the shop will be moved into a large classroom just south of the present wood shop area, and that the new area will have several new classrooms and bathrooms.