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)

Mom concerned about mould, ventilation issues at Surrey school

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 Surrey elementary school.

Chelsea Woo presented to the board of education 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.

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

LETTER: Recreational angling has low-impact on Fraser salmon

Jason Tonelli writes about his displeasure at the call to close recreational fishing on the Fraser

Comedy, chicken poop and dancing at Lytton Festival

This year’s festival will honour longtime supporter Shirley James

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Oppenheimer Park residents told to leave, clear out tents by Aug. 21

Police say park has seen influx of residents, violence in recent months

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okanagan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Most Read