Parents unhappy with delay of school repairs

Parents of Sunnyside Elementary School students were very unhappy to hear that the repairs to the school’s leaky roof would not be completed until sometime in summer 2017 when they attended the Board of Aldermen meeting on Aug. 11.

Father of a Sunnyside student, Michael Gaydos said the slow progress of the project is a disgrace to the city and a result of negligence.

“My daughter Samantha deserve better, not only that but all of the children, all of the teachers and all of the staff at Sunnyside School deserve better,” said Gaydos. “This isn’t the Shelter Ridge project where there needs to be a debate on pros and cons of why it’s good for the city or why it’s not good for the city. This is about a school roof and kids, there is no debate. Nothing to talk about, nothing to discuss.”

Gaydos said he hopes the parents and students of Sunnyside will not be in the same position of waiting come this time next year.

He added that what really frustrates him and the other parents is that they are just finding out the project won’t be completed this year when the Mayor said he’s known for over a month.

Mayor Mark Lauretti said he found out the selected contractor would not be completing the job back in July because of the asbestos in the roof deck.

Gaydos added that over the next year he intends to be more involved with the process of the school’s roof being repaired.

Alderman Jim Capra said he hadn’t been made aware of the roof project not going to be completed this summer until the week of the Board of Aldermen meeting. He suggested there be more transparency going forward with the advancements in the project.

Jeremy Buchholz, also parent of a Sunnyside student, was unhappy with the city’s efforts to have the roof completed. He said the project lacked urgency and “out of the box thinking” could have made the difference between this project getting finished this year or not.

The group of parents that attended the meeting were all upset, but some were more willing to hear the city’s plans than others. Some were still concerned with mold and asbestos problems that could affect students following the completion of both the library/media center repairs and the roof project as a whole.

Being that the cause for the repairs in the first place was a leaky roof, Buchholz was the first to mention the potential dangers of the kids/people in the building being exposed to mold.

Lauretti said there had been no mold found in the building, but Buchholz was not convinced and insisted testing be done.

“If the roof is leaking then there’s mold. I’ve been in that school. There’s no air conditioning, it’s hot and mold can form in a day,” said Buchholz.

Lauretti agreed reach out to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chris Clouet about conducting air quality tests following the completion of the 5,000 square foot roof repairs which are scheduled to begin on Aug. 20.

“When you leave the deck on the building you’re not required to do testing, I mean that’s standard in the industry,” said Lauretti.

Board of Ed Chairman Mark Holden said he has not been made aware of any other possible actions to be taken in order for the entire roof to be completed before school begins. He said the school is still scheduled to open on Sept. 6.

“If the school’s not fit to be open then it won’t be opened simple as that,” said Holden. “I don’t think we’ll end up in that position but obviously we’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Lauretti said the project was put out to bid three times and everyone knew asbestos was in the roof. He added that when the asbestos is encased it will not be “disturbed” because the city has decided not to do an abatement which would have required them to remove the roof deck.
He explained that the situation with the initial contractor put the city is back at square one, it will have to put the full roof repair project back out to bid and another temporary fix will be used to make the building watertight for the winter months.