Nova Scotia

Residents say derelict school a dangerous eyesore

They want the school board to repair the decades-old building which was closed in 2007.

Community wants the school board to repair decades-old building

People in Iona, Cape Breton, on the Barra Strait of Bras d'Or Lake, said Sunday they want a derelict school repaired.

Rankin Memorial High School was built in 1958 and replaced with a new P-12 school, Rankin School of the Narrows, in 2007.

Residents expressed concerns with the appearance of the old school building and potential safety hazards. Angie Fowler, who runs a bed and breakfast next door, said someone has ripped the plumbing out of the old building.

"All the piping is falling out of the ceiling. Like the sprinkler system is all ripped out," she said.

The paint has also peeled from the walls and the driveway has been blocked with gravel. Fowler said she is worried about what would happen to her home if the former school caught on fire.

"There's no alarms; there's nothing. I don't know what the answer is but something has to be done," she said.

She added that the school in its current state is bad for business.

"Who wants to come as a guest and they're sitting in my sun porch looking out at the water and they're looking at the school that's falling down?"

Fowler said the facility also attracts illegal activity.

Ambrose White, the superintendent of the Cape Breton Victoria School Board, said he hasn't heard complaints about Rankin Memorial, but acknowledged his board's responsibility for former school buildings.

"On the north side they remain in our possession and we then try to sell them off. We try to make sure they are in good shape, secure the windows, doors and that kind of stuff – alarm them and do our best to keep them to remain in decent condition," he said.