Brooke Central students won’t return to Alvinston until September

Brooke Central School

Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative

It will be September before Brooke Central School students are reunited.

That from Lambton-Kent District School Board Director of Education John Howitt who recently updated trustees on the progress of the roof project at Brooke Central Public School.

In late November, engineers preparing for a summer roof project at the school, found the roof, might collapse under the weight of 12 inches of snow or more. “The project was unexpected and unwelcome,” said Howitt, about what led to work getting underway at the school.

Students were sent home at that time and a plan was worked out to have classes at other nearby schools until work could be completed. Kindergarten to Grade 5 students were sent to Lambton Central, Kindergarten to Grade 6 students in the French Immersion program were bussed to East Lambton Elementary School while students in Grade 6 to 8 remained at Brooke Central in a part of the school where the roof is secure.

The ceiling in the school has been demolished and crews are working on reinforcing the roof.

Howitt said the original goal was to have all students back to Brooke Central by March Break, but that didn’t happen. The scope of the job changed when it was discovered a sprinkler system had to be installed, which extended the time needed.

Howitt is hoping the work can be completed by the start of the school year and all students can once again be brought under the same roof.

Lambton Kent School District has also asked for a second construction crew to be involved so work can be done more quickly.

The same architect that has been working on Brooke Central has also being working on the Rosedale Public School renovations in Sarnia. Lambton Kent has made the Brooke Central construction a priority.

One of the challenges experienced while the work is being done is construction crews have set off four or five false fire alarms, the most recent being on March 28. Patience has been stretched among those in the school, said Howitt.

There are some rumours in the community about the school closing. “We have no intention of closing the school,” stressed Howitt. Closing a school involves a multiple month process and this is not what is happening here, he said.

The Local Journalism Initiative supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada.