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Bayside parents want chronically leaking school roof fixed

Parents fed up with a roof at Bayside Middle School that has leaked since the school was opened in 1992 are pushing to get it fixed once and for all.
Bayside Middle School in Brentwood Bay.
Bayside Middle School in Brentwood Bay.

Parents fed up with a roof at Bayside Middle School that has leaked since the school was opened in 1992 are pushing to get it fixed once and for all.

Bayside Parent Advisory Council chairwoman Sandra Arthur said there have been puddles as big as four metres square. “They’re just not the conditions that you expect in an environment for learning,” she said of leaks at the Brentwood Bay school.

Arthur said a group of parents from the school, which serves 565 Grade 6-8 students, will be at the legislature today to hear Gary Holman, NDP MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, raise the issue.

The parents will present Holman with a petition calling for government funding to replace the roof. It had about 440 signatures by Monday night.

In November, a student slipped on a wet spot in the drama room and suffered a mild concussion, said Saanich school district superintendent Keven Elder. Among the problems is water getting in where the roof meets the wall, and corrosion of sheet metal that is an integral part of the roof.

“We’ve spent $380,000, that’s our estimate on how much money we’ve spent repairing it over the years,” Elder said. “For the first 10 years or so, we were working with the contractor to remediate those problems.

Elder said the district has explored redress from the contractor but it has not worked out.

“Originally we were working off regular contractor warranty,” he said. “After that time, it started to fall to us to effect those repairs.”

Elder said it will cost $2.6 million to replace the roof, of which the district could contribute $1 million, using funds from the proceeds of the recent sale of McTavish Elementary School and unused funding from an annual facility grant.

The district hopes the rest comes from the province, said Elder, who wants to see the roof replaced this summer.

Education Minister Mike Bernier said Monday he became aware of the Bayside issue last week and discovered his staff had been working on it behind the scenes with the school district.

He said he met with his staff Monday morning “and one of the directions I’ve given is to work continually with the school district to find a solution for them.”

“One of the things we’re doing is making sure we get the final cost from them, what will that be, making sure that we have some opportunities to help fund that, if that’s possible, working with the school board.”

Elder said the leaks are becoming more evident and the water is beginning to affect the building.

“So we’re having air-quality testing done this week to make sure that we don’t have any problems of that nature, mould or spores.”

He said everyone involved wants to see action.

“We’re all on the same side, including government. Government wants this done, too.”

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