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

Teens charged in stabbing death of South Surrey man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of Paul Prestbakmo

Council to look into Cloverdale arena project

Plans could include twinning existing rink

UPDATE: Two North Delta schools briefly in ‘hold and secure’ after report of weapon

Seaquam Secondary and Cougar Canyon Elementary were in ‘hold and secure’ for about 45 minutes

Surrey family donates $125K to hospital’s children’s centre, with a 55-day fundraising campaign

Bob Hans says the initiative is meant to coincide with the 550th birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak

WestCoast Big Band Festival on the move from Surrey to Vancouver

‘It’s time for our festival to go to the next level,’ organizer says of mid-November event

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Police warn of escalating violence, weapons in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park

Officers issue statement about high crime in the area that includes a homeless camp

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Human case of West Nile virus reported on Vancouver Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed case reported in August

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

B.C. Liberal leader says private sector development will help housing affordability

Andrew Wilkenson spoke in Kelowna during a real estate conference

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

Most Read