Edmonton police Insp. Terry Rocchio speaks to reporters Tuesday about the discovery of a body on the grounds of Balwin School. (CBC)

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a man who was found dead on the grounds of an elementary and junior high school in northeast Edmonton Tuesday.

The man's body was discovered on the grounds of Balwin School just before 7 a.m. MT.

Insp. Terry Rocchio of the Edmonton Police Service said officers were called to the school, located at 132nd Avenue and 70th Street, by someone who reported that there was an injured man at the back of the building. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Homicide detectives were called out to investigate.

Late Tuesday afternoon, police released a brief description of the man in hopes of identifying him. Police describe him as a black male with a slender build and very short hair, between the ages of 16 and 20.

Balwin School remained open Tuesday despite the police investigation.

School staff made sure students were kept away from the area the body was discovered by ensuring they entered and exited the school through the front door.

Rhonda Bedient, who lives nearby, said she was reluctant to send her son to school.

"You don't expect something like that to happen at your own kid's school. But northside, you pretty much gotta expect that, right ... it's dangerous down here,"  she said.

Balwin School is currently being modernized, but tradespeople were told work would be suspended Tuesday because of the investigation.

"Most of our work area's cordoned off so there's nothing we can do," carpenter John Beaton said. 

Beaton saw the body when he first arrived for work.

"I set my lunch kit on the fuel tank of the job shack and you could see the body right there,"  Beaton said.

He was told to put up caution tape to keep students from going around to the back of the school.

An autopsy on the victim is scheduled for Wednesday morning.