Damage, mold force temporary relocation of school
West Tualatin View Elementary School students are scheduled to return to their campus next week, after being abruptly relocated to a different school following a water leak and subsequent mold issue at the campus.
The leak occurred shortly after roof replacement work started in August. Unseasonably heavy rains caused the recently replaced roof to leak, which led to "five areas of slightly elevated fungal growth and/or water impact," according to the Beaverton School District. Not long after the reported leak, parents and teachers said children complained of upper respiratory irritation.
The Beaverton School District hired an environmental and health consultant to examine the impacted areas and conduct air sampling.
In late September, district officials decided to move students and teachers to the new middle school campus in Timberland while the leaks and roof were fixed. Students and teachers were shuffled to the new midldle school building, which is also currently being used by Arts & Communication Magnet Academy students.
"Keeping the building closed through October will allow the district and the contractor time to thoroughly complete the roofing project and address the water intrusion issues before staff and students return," the district stated in a project update.
Facilities staff held a meeting with parents last Thursday, Oct. 24, to address concerns over mold, water damage and the district's seismic safety plan.
Parents came armed with questions and criticism for school district staff. Most wanted to know exactly how the district gauged where the water damage was, what areas might have had mold and whether enough caution was taken to address the whole issue.
"We had a roof leak, you had ceilings in there that had insulation ... so we wanted to make sure we captured everything," said Victoria Shepersky, senior industrial hygienist with TRC, a company brought in to conduct inspections. "We went through and removed anything that was water-stained."
Shepersky said anything that showed signs of excess moisture was removed and replaced.
District staff and contractors also had to address asbestos at the site, which is common in older school buildings.
"Due to the age of the school, several walls have asbestos containing materials and had to be removed in order to perform microbial remediation," Joshua Gamez, the district's chief facilities officer, told parents in an Oct. 15 update. "The walls removed were done under surveillance and proper containment to ensure all disturbed asbestos was contained and properly disposed."
Others wondered why the roofing project was started so close to the start of school.
"It started too late. In retrospect, it should have been started (sooner)," Aaron Boyle, Beaverton schools' administrator for facilities development, admitted to parents Thursday.
Boyle and Gamez said much of the delay came because the school district went out for bid twice on the roof repair project with no takers.
Gamez assured parents a flood test will be performed to test the integrity of the new roof before students return.
"We experienced a heavy rain downpour on October 8 ... and the roof held up to the wind and water — which is a good test in advance of the flood test," Gamez noted in his Oct. 15 update.
After the leaks, the district has been working with the contractor on an insurance claim for the damages, Boyle said this week.
Students are expected to return to the West Tualatin View Elementary campus next Monday, Nov. 4.
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