Parents of students at Bishop Feild Elementary in St. John's are worried that an electrical transformer being installed in the school's playground may make the area unsafe for children to play.

On Monday, when students returned to school after the Easter break, parents said they were shocked to find a temporary barrier in the playground where a transformer is slated to go up.


Melanie Del Rizzo is the president of the school council at Bishop Feild Elementary. (CBC)

The transformer is part of a project to upgrade the school's electrical system, which is being changed from steam radiation to electric heating.

"There was very little consultation, certainly no consultation with parents of the school council that I had," said Melanie Del Rizzo, president of the Bishop Feild school council.

Del Rizzo said parents have safety concerns, and some are even linking transformers to potential health issues for their children.

But parents' current concern is the safety of their children, who have been playing beside a concrete block and iron rods. 

Outdoor playtime concerns

Karen Murphy, another parent, said she is worried about what the transformer might mean for gym class.

"Taking away green space in a downtown neighborhood, where these are neighborhood children playing here, will certainly impact their activity levels," said Murphy. 

Officials with the Eastern School District declined to do an interview. But Ken Morrissey, the district's director of communications, provided a statement which read in part:

"Student safety is always a consideration when they [transformers] are placed on site and this transformer will be fenced and students will not have access."

Morrissey said board officials are arranging a meeting with the Bishop Feild school council to discuss the issue.

Del Rizzo said parents are considering consulting with an engineer to offer the school district other options.