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

Cloverdale town hall adresses climate change and loss of biodiversity

Meeting co-hosted by Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag, Camp We Empower draws about 70 people

PHOTOS: Surrey designer uses toilet paper to make a dress for annual Toronto show

‘The dress is very experimental and avante garde,’ says Guildford-based Alex S. Yu

Police issue warning after four overdoses in North Delta

Police and emergency health services use naloxone to revive four overdose victims Thursday morning

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Surrey reacts to policing plan getting the green light

Former mayor, councillors and residents weigh in on the Public Safety Minister approving the transition

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read