Report released to SOCH

Regina Public Schools has been sitting on a report since August that gives the building a longer life expectancy and puts into question the need to underpin Connaught School.  However, the report also highlights the need for structural tests, a recommendation Regina Public continues to adamantly oppose.

The report by BBK Engineers gave the building a longer shelf life of 10 years, and said “no safety items were noted except at the original front entrance, which has been dealt with.”  The report said the footings were deemed to be of sufficient size, and underpinning was not among the recommendations, something that had previously been flagged as a $4.5 million undertaking. This would renovation costs just below the cost of building new. However, the report raises concerns about the floor and ceiling slabs.

SOCH knows from historical records that the slabs are reinforced, but the drawings that were provided to BBK contained no information that would allow the firm to determine how close they are to meeting today’s building codes.

More investigation recommended

“Without considerable more investigation than this report allows (determine actual reinforcing) we must assume that the floor structure is under reinforced and has a lower facture of safety than a structure built today,” the report states.

The report was released after Aleana Young referenced it in a response to a citizen’s letter. SOCH followed up with a request for copies of all structural reports that have not been made publicly available.

We were also provided with biannual letters from JC Kenyon, the firm contracted to monitor the building every six months. Unfortunately, every single letter is prefaced with the statement, “No analysis of the structure or testing was performed.”

Not having verifiable information continues to place a black hole in the renovation budget. A slab reinforcement strategy could be anything from beam supports, to mesh supports, to complete replacement of the slabs, which would be major.

The BKK report notes only a small portion of the basement wall is open to view, and added there is a large unexplained hole in the wall in that location. Other reports indicate the hole was created there intentionally some years ago to accommodate some equipment.

Board blocking scientific study

Save Our Connaught Heritage has access to specialists who would use ground-penetrating radar to, among other things, gain a clear picture of the inside of the slabs, revealing the size and mesh pattern of the reinforcing steel. This would definitively answer many outstanding questions.

Testing would also reveal the condition of the walls, bricks and foundation. However, so far access to the building to carry out scientific tests has been refused.

SOCH sent a letter to trustees stating, “As parents and community members, we have a profound moral obligation to do everything in our power to ensure these tests are carried out, and that sound science becomes the basis for determining the safety factor of a building our children enter every day. Anything less is negligence.

We believe anyone carrying the title ‘trustee’ would not want to block this information from being gathered. We trust that on further reflection you will find no good reason in your hearts to continue preventing us from conducting verifiable science on our school premises.”

SOCH representatives raised these concerns with Ministry of Education officials on Monday, and we will continue our attempts to convince trustees to let us inside our school.

On January 28, the school board is hosting the Electors Annual Meeting, where there are opportunities for citizens to raise questions and concerns, and to put forward motions for voting on. A good question is: “Why are you so afraid of science?”

Copies of the reports are posted on the documents page.

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