Buckets filled with rainwater. Puddles on the floor. Stained and damaged ceiling tiles.
Those are some of the things staff and students at Bayside Middle School in Saanich have been dealing with for decades thanks to a leaky roof.
“You have to send the kids on a buffalo hunt to find the puddles and then mop them up the best you can and put out some buckets,” physical education teacher Ed Timmermans said.
The school’s roof has been leaking on and off since it was installed back in 1992.
For years, the district worked with the original contractor to fix the problem, spending about $380,000 in repairs. Still, they were not successful.
School District 63 superintendent Dr. Kevin Elders says the roof “needs to be reconceived and replaced. The frustration that people are experiencing on an everyday basis, year after year after year. We understand that.”
For parents it’s reached a boiling point. Six computers in the school library had to be replaced due to water damage. There is also concern that mould could be lurking in the walls.
In November, a student suffered a concussion after slipping and hitting his head.
“Without any doubt it’s mandatory and obligatory that they go ahead and repair the whole roof now,” Bayside Middle School PAC President Sandra Arthur said.
The parent advisory committee has launched a petition, gathering more than 400 signatures in a matter of days.
It will up to the government to provide funds for the project, which is estimated to cost $2.6 million.
“We can’t have the situation the way it is, so our ministry staff is going to work closely with the district to find a solution,” Education Minister Mike Bernier said.
The district believes it will be able to contribute around $1 million, using unspent money from the annual capital grant and roughly $600,000 from the sale of an elementary school.
Until a plan is in place, those buckets will be on standby so staff and students can continue to come to work, learn and stay dry.