Chelsea Woo, whose son is in kindergarten at Mountainview Montessori in the Guildford area, is concerned about mould, ventilation and other maintenance issues at her son’s elementary school. Woo sits next to some rodent netting on one of the school buildings. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Mould, ventilation issues at Surrey school concern mom of kindergarten student

District says it is investigating and will look at other ways to ‘increase airflows’

A mother of a kindergarten student at Mountainview Montessori is alarmed by mould, ventilation and other maintenance issues at the Guildford-area elementary school.

Chelsea Woo presented to the board of trustees on Wednesday (June 12) on portables compared to permanent structures and the maintenance for the two different types of buildings. Woo’s presentation can be found here.

Woo said she did “a bit of a case study” on her son’s school Mountainview Montessori (15225 98th Ave.), which consists of portable buildings that the district describes as a “modular complex.”

READ ALSO: Surrey school trustees want to see reliance on portables reduced by 50% in five years, Sept. 21, 2018

She said there is no ventilation system in the buildings and there was mould found beneath the kindergarten portables.

Surrey Schools spokesperson Doug Strachan said independent consultants did an investigation of mould growth at the school after complaints of a mouldy smell.

“While some cleaning in the crawlspace was recommended and completed, the reports from different times of the year all found air quality was not impacted in the classrooms. There has also been drainage improvement work done,” Strachan said.

Portables need to be monitored for temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide, Woo said, adding that new portables already monitor carbon dioxide.

“Otherwise, how can you know that whether or not the environment is safe? And since they’re not monitored, we just can’t know,” she said. “I don’t think it’s just this school, I think it’s other schools too.”

Surrey Teacher’s Association president Matt Westphal said that portables are “more prone to mould and mildew” given they’re raised off the ground, adding that the “ventilation is terrible.”

The Mountainview structure, he said, is “long past its best-before date.”

The portables at Mountainview Montessori, according to Woo’s presentation, are “at least 27 years old” with 1992 manufacture dates, and were placed on the school grounds in February 2000.

Mountainview is listed as “medium” project priority for a school replacement, with Riverdale Elementary ahead of the montessori school.

Woo said the modular buildings at Riverdale are “brand new.” She said she thinks Mountainview should be made “high priority.”

“I’ve asked the criteria for making those decisions – high vs. medium vs. low (priority) for school replacement because, to me, it’s not quite clear why we’re medium priority when we’re literally deteriorating,” Woo said. “We’re so overdue for building replacements.”

Woo said that for a “first school experience,” it wasn’t what she was expecting.

“I know (my son) doesn’t know any different, but I know that’s not the school that I want my son to go to.”

Woo said she has her son on a waitlist for another school, and if accepted, she will be moving him “for sure.”

“But if he doesn’t, I want the bare minimum for them to put a ventilation system in.”

Board of education chair Laurie Larsen, who first heard from Woo at a May 15 board meeting, said she was shocked to hear about the issues at Mountainview.

“The board had asked the staff to present us with some of the issues that were there, so in the meantime, there’s been conversations with Chelsea and with the secretary-treasurer to try and address some of the concerns, but until that we hadn’t heard anything,” Larsen said Thursday, following the June 13 board meeting.

READ ALSO: Proudly Surrey says asbestos needs to be removed from all schools, now, Sept. 12, 2018

While Larsen hasn’t been on site to Mountainview, she said she has seen “quite a few” photos of the school from Woo’s presentation.

With the school year coming to an end, Larsen said the district will look at fixing some of the issues.

“Certainly the stairs will be addressed, I mean that will be something that will be done right away,” said Larsen, adding that the district will also look at the ventilation issues.

Strachan said that portable and modular buildings “don’t typically include HVAC systems.”

“However, because of the parent’s continuing concern about potential air quality problems, the district is further investigating and will look at ways to increase airflows,” Strachan said.

READ ALSO: The struggle for space inside Surrey’s elementary schools, June 13, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Just Posted

South Surrey man collecting signatures to keep RCMP

Ivan Scott is attending SPD info sessions with his petition

Days numbered for Surrey’s Back on Track recovery homes

As operator pledges to fight, clients predict loss will ‘send us back in our addiction’

City of White Rock responds to Lady Alexandra court petition

City says it did not breach ‘obligation of procedural fairness’

Police in North Delta nab alleged thief riding stolen bike, carrying another

Terry Lee Pipe, 43, of Surrey, has been charged with possession of property obtained by crime

South Surrey Spirit Garden to host Solstice Stroll

Candlelight event to begin at 8 p.m. June 22

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Parents of BC murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read

l -->