Students moving out: Brooke Central roof may not withstand ‘significant snowfall’

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Brooke Central School

Students will learn online, be moved to other schools temporarily

Students at Brooke Central School won’t be going back to their classrooms anytime soon. And its not because of a possible CUPE strike.

Lambton Kent District School Board is moving students out of the building after an engineer’s report found the roof of the building may not withstand a significant snowfall.

In a letter to parents, Director of Education John Howitt said the board was preparing for routine summer roof maintenance at the school. An architect and the structural engineer were developing the tender for a summer roofing project when they found the problem.

“”The school is currently safe for occupation; however, there are concerns with the integrity of the roof to withstand significant snow accumulation as it does not meet current design load standards, specifically snow accumulation of more than 12 inches in the sections of the building completed in 1960 and 1967,” wrote Howitt. “While the school roof has not had any structural failures since these sections were built, the architect and structural engineer are recommending immediate reinforcement to the roof.

“The architect and structural engineer confirmed the building is safe for occupancy with little to no snow accumulation; however, the levels of snow fall in a typical Alvinston winter are of concern, especially a large dumping of snow in a short period of time.”

Howitt says they’ll be watching the roof for snow as the board waits for the architects to finalize the stabilization plans.

“As a precaution to ensure student and staff safety, we are making plans to support the temporary transition of students to alternate school locations during the completion of the structural upgrades to the roof,” says Howitt.

“We are committed to providing families with as much notice as possible regarding the transitions. LKDSB is in process of developing plans to temporarily relocate Brooke Central Public School into neighbouring schools which have sufficient space. Specific details of this relocation will be shared shortly, but in brief it is the intent to keep students together with their current classroom teacher.

“Bussing will continue to be provided and Brooke Central students and staff will return to the school once the structural upgrades to the roof are complete, which will begin as soon as possible.”

Howitt says starting Monday, students will transition to remote, asynchronous teacher-led learning. From Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Tuesday, Nov. 29, students will engage in synchronous remote teacher-led learning. On Nov. 30, Howitt said the students will relocated to alternative school sites until the structural upgrades to the roof are completed.

Howitt says families can go to the school Monday and Tuesday to pick up students’ personal belongings.

The Early Years Centre was built more recently but the board will have a structural engineer conduct a study. Until that’s done next week, the roof will be monitored to make sure snow doesn’t accumulate there.

Howitt says parents can call the school if they have questions and an open house Monday at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre Complex at 6 pm.

It was a possibility the students would have had to return to remote learning even without the roof problems since CUPE has set a strike deadline for Monday. The board says students will learn remotely should that happen.

You can read the engineer’s report here: