SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - No stone is left unturned after students at Three Oaks Senior High School raised concerns amid ongoing construction at the school this week.
The Public Schools Branch and the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy said in a press statement to the Journal Pioneer that the main (loud) construction work is conducted outside of school sessions to avoid any disruption.
“The safety of students and teachers during construction is our top priority. Each week, the school administrators, project manager and contractors meet to discuss the week's plan. Any work that may have safety or disruption concerns is done while students and staff are not supposed to be in the building, either early morning or at night,” said April Gallant, the Transportation spokesperson.
The construction superintendent was unaware of any environmental hazards such as exposed electrical wires or fumes, which were brought forward by students.
“He has not heard any issues from the school relating to either of these incidents,” she said.
When addressing the incident on Wednesday evening, which resulted in the evacuation of students and staff, Gallant said hazardous materials had already been removed from the building.
“Floor tiles were being removed in a corridor. The work was being done after typical work hours due to the noise it creates. The demolition contractor was working in a sealed off area but unfortunately, they did find two small areas where the door wasn't sealed properly and allowed dust to get into the school corridor.
“This was in an area in which hazardous materials had already been abated and had been cleared through air quality testing a month ago. Air quality was checked again that night and in the morning by 6:30 a.m.”
Since the incident occurred, two drywall walls have been constructed at the entrances of the construction zone to provide a better seal.
Work begins in the school cafeteria and kitchen in May, and the building will remain open.
Students are advised to contact the school administration, who meet daily with the construction manager’s superintendent, if they have any occupational health and safety concerns.