Bishop Feild reopening pushed — tentatively — to April
NLESD sends letter to parents outlining new issues found with water in gym floor
Students hoping to get back into Bishop Feild will have to wait a few months longer, as the return date has been pushed to April 2020.
The school was originally supposed to reopen in January, but a letter sent to parents Monday said new issues have been found at the aging building, prompting another extension on work needing to be done.
"Most significantly, there is water infiltration in the gym floor area that needs to be addressed," the letter reads, adding the gym's elevation puts the floor eight feet below ground, making it "difficult to identify the root cause."
Jennifer Binetti, parent of a Grade 6 student at Bishop Feild, says parents are extremely disappointed by the news. She and other parents were under the impression was six weeks out, and said the move continues to affect the children.
"More long bus rides, more disappointment for children who want to be returning to our school," Binetti said. "Especially the Grade 6 students of which my daughter is one. She wants to be back in her school. The kids want to be back in their community."
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District said in its letter that the Department of Transportation and Works and contractors are working on the issue.
"However, given the current status, it is not possible to complete everything to facilitate a Christmas move," the letter reads, adding that the board is now tentatively looking at returning to the building in early April, around Easter.
"The three-month extension assures us that all the ongoing and required work can be completed."
The school was closed in October 2017 after part of a concrete roof in the gymnasium collapsed.
Steve Crocker, minister of transportation and works, says he stands by the decision to renovate and reopen the school, and wants to see students back in Bishop Feild.
"I share their frustration," Crocker said. "We want to get this project done as well and I can understand them wanting to get their kids back in there. What the reality is here, we have to make sure that when the children go back into that enviroment, it's safe."
Binetti said parents are frustrated with government and the delays.
"They promised us something, and haven't delivered," Binetti said.
"No one's trusting anything that they're saying right now."
Bishop Feild is the oldest established school in St. John's, at 90 years old.
Students have since been attending classes at the former School for the Deaf on Topsail Road.