During the reconstruction of the roof this summer intense storms caused rainwater to leak through the temporary protective measures and damaged the school. The majority of the damage was within the gymnasium area and limited mainly to the gymnasium floor. During replacement of the gymnasium floor on Tuesday, August 25 trace amounts of asbestos were discovered in a lower layer of flooring, something common in older buildings. While not harmful when buried in the floor, once exposed asbestos fibres can become airborne and special precautions need to be taken.
Starting on Wednesday, August 26, Service Master, who has already been working on the floor replacement, will begin removal of the floor layer containing these trace amounts of asbestos. This process is estimated to be completed by September 5. Once all the asbestos has been removed, industry standard processes will be followed to ensure the air is clear and safe. The gymnasium is the only area directly affected by this and will be completely sealed off from the rest of the school. As an extra precaution, WRSD Administration has decided to keep Lochearn School closed until Tuesday, September 8, after the Labour Day long weekend.
“The safety of our students and staff is always our first priority and while we recognize this decision creates a huge inconvenience for everyone, we would rather ensure everyone’s safety,” stated Superintendent, Brad Volkman. “Despite the later start, we know we will all work together to have a terrific start to the school year.“
Registration for new students will be taking place at the Wild Rose School Division Education Centre (4912-43 St) on Wednesday afternoon, all day Friday and Monday. Families who ordered school supplies can pick these up at this location at these times or throughout the week starting Aug. 31. During this closure Lochearn staff will be relocated to the Division Education Centre to work on planning, preparation and professional development while the school is closed.
“This is an unfortunate matter, however we always put our students and staffs safety as a first priority” stated Principal, Danielle Spencer. “Starting the school year later is very frustrating but this choice will ensure this issue does not put anybody at risk.”