Calgary

Union head says other Calgary schools have roof problems

The head of the union for custodial and maintenance staff at the Calgary Board of Education says Marlborough Elementary School isn't the only public school with roof problems.

The head of the union for custodial and maintenance staff at the Calgary Board of Education says Marlborough Elementary School isn't the only public school with roof problems.

Marlborough elementary was closed indefinitely Wednesday after the Calgary Board of Education received a report that indicated the roof could collapse under a heavy snowfall. Marlborough's roof is made out of a straw material, which is breaking down.

Parents were shocked by the news.

"I was terrified actually, when I got the phone call that they were being transferred out of this school because the roof was unsafe," Mosney el-Katib said.

Leaks identified in 2000

Problems with the roof were identified in a provincial audit in 2000. It said there were leaks and the roof needed further investigation.

The Calgary Board of Education says it added Marlborough to the growing list of schools that need repair and inspected it frequently.

Ian Lacouvee, spokesman for the board, says extra reports were done after the heavy rains this spring and summer – and that's when the heavy snowfall concern was raised.

"All of the analysis we've done has indicated that there is no present risk," Lacouvee said. "There is a potential future risk and ... we're ahead on this issue."

However, Drake Hammill, head of the union for custodial and maintenance services, says he knew about the roof almost a year ago.

"I got notification back last May on the roofing issues over at Marlborough," he told CBC News. "I don't think there would be any collapsing of the roof, but you have issues of water getting into the membranes ... and that's where you have black mould and things coming up from."

Hammill says the leaks were even more evident during last year's heavy rains, adding that there are at least 160 other Calgary public schools with leaky roofs.

The education board says it doesn't know whether the roof at Marlborough can be repaired or how much it will cost. In the meantime, students will attend two other schools in the area.

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