Students back at Parkside as air exchange units wait to be installed

Nancy MacPhee
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SUMMERSIDE — It’s back to the old system of opening doors and windows to flush the air at Parkside Elementary as new air-handling systems aimed at alleviating air-quality issues at the school sit idle, waiting to be installed.

David Gillis, Western School Board’s corporate services leader, looks over documents during the board’s monthly meeting Wednesday night. Gillis said there is a solution in the works for air-quality issues at Parkside Elementary.

Students were back to class Monday after an extended Christmas break.

Staff and students received an additional two days off as installation of the units, which were to be installed over the break, had been delayed.

As of Wednesday, the units had yet to be installed, said Dave Gillis, director of corporate services with the English Language School Board.

“We expect the units to be up and fully functional by Monday,” said Gillis. “The units are physically in the building now. The contractors advised on Friday of last week that one of the pieces that deals with the electrical side of it, one of the major pieces, didn’t land and was caught up in Christmas shipping. It’s not supposed to land until (Wednesday). By the time the contractors get it installed and tested it will be the weekend.”

Until that happens, Gillis said it is back to the ‘flushing’ system that had been used at the school for the past year.

“The units themselves, hopefully, will be fully functional by Monday,” he added. “The units, themselves, will be activated once the electrical components are installed and tested.”

Air quality tests conducted in January 2012 revealed high levels of carbon dioxide at the city school. Since, staff has been ‘flushing’ the building several times a day, opening windows and doors to allow fresh are in.

Class sizes in areas with no air exchangers were also reduced.

Late last year, the then Western School Board came up with a more permanent solution to air quality issues at the school. Six smaller electrical air-exchange units were ordered, costing far less than the $750,000 for a larger air-handling system.

There were concerns whether the school’s aging electrical system could accommodate the six smaller units. But after an analysis by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal was completed it was determined the system could be modified.

Joan Moore-Dennis, the P.E.I. School Safety consultant, has been regularly testing air quality at the school. To date, all tests have been within acceptable parameters.

Gillis said air-quality testing would be done after the units are installed and operational.




Organizations: English Language School Board, Western School Board, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal P.E.I. School Safety

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