Award-winning school not water tight

  • Nov. 26, 2004 1:00 p.m.

Skidegate’s Sk’aadgaa Naay school, which won a design award shortly after it was built, has a leaking roof, causing water and mold problems in the photocopy room.
The problem was discovered late last month, after the big storm November 13, but it didn’t start then. The roof has likely been leaking since the building was constructed in 1999, according to the school district’s supervisor of maintenance Bill Wiggins.
Staff first noticed a wet area on the wall, Mr. Wiggins said, and when maintenance staff opened up the drywall to take a look, they found mold and rot in the sub floor as well as in some support beams.
The leak is confined to one area, and the interior damage is not extensive, and is likely to cost only $4,000 to $5,000 to repair, Mr. Wiggins said. But the roof problem could need major repairs, and at this point there is no estimate on how much that would cost.
“We’re going to be looking for dollars to do whatever is necessary,” Mr. Wiggins said, “hopefully we can get an architect up here to find out whether it is a design or a workmanship problem”.
The school board is applying to the province for funding, but has not heard back so far.
“It is very, very disappointing,” school board chair Andreas Uttendorfer said at the school board meeting, coincidentally held at Sk’aadgaa Naay on November 23. “We made it very clear to the people who were going to design and build this building, we made it very clear to them that it rains here on Haida Gwaii. We are going to pursue this in any way we can.”
For the moment the problem is being controlled with extra heat and ultraviolet light being applied, so it won’t cause health problems for students and staff.
But the award-winning school, actually built below the level of a nearby creek and with a chronic problem with water in the basement, now has one more dampness problem to contend with.