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French students to be housed in basement of nearby English school

Ecole Notre Dame du Cap French School in Cape St. George has been closed due to structural problems.
Ecole Notre Dame du Cap French School in Cape St. George has been closed due to structural problems. - Contributed
CAPE ST. GEORGE-PETIT JARDIN-GRAND JARDIN-DE GRAU-MARCHES POINT-LORETTO, N.L. —

Samantha Hinks of the school council at Ecole Notre Dame du Cap said her group went to a meeting on Friday with the provincial francophone school board with a demand.

Staff at the school were made aware the previous day the school, which was already closed due to plumbing problems, would remained closed for the rest of the school year due to structural problems.

Hinks said her group met prior to the meeting with the school board and brought a recommendation their children being housed at Our Lady of the Cape English school across the road for the rest of the year.

A person’s foot is seen pushed under a wall where the floor has sunk in a room at Ecole Notre Dame du Cap French School in Cape St. George, which has been closed due to structural problems.
A person’s foot is seen pushed under a wall where the floor has sunk in a room at Ecole Notre Dame du Cap French School in Cape St. George, which has been closed due to structural problems.

That was accompanied by a demand that they get in writing that this is just a temporary arrangement.

Kim Christianson, director of education with Conseil Scolaire Francophone Provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, said she was pleased the school council came with a solution, wanting to relocate in Cape St. George.

“This is a temporary move, but we don’t know until when,” she said.

She said when their board got the word last week from the Department of Transportation and Works they had to close the building immediately, that it was an urgent and reorganization of classes would have to take place.

Christianson said the next steps are on the administrative part of this, to work on the logistics of spaces.

She said the recommendations are for further testing of this structural problem, whether the issue can be fixed and at what cost or whether the next step might be to build a new school.

“It’s an old building with lots of renovations done and there were still more to come. To find out the other problems are also a concern,” she said.

While the classes for the French Pre-School to Grade 8 students are being housed in the basement of Our Lady of the Cape School, there will be some shared spaces for gym, cafeteria, kitchen and library.

Christianson is optimistic students will be able to return on a full day school schedule on Monday of next week and possibly have an orientation visit this Friday.

Hinks said it’s her understanding that the school, which is about 40 years old now, was put up originally as a temporary building for a 10-year period. She said she attended the school and she’s 41 years old now.

Cracking is seen in the corner of a room at Ecole Notre Dame du Cap French School in Cape St. George, which has been closed due to structural problems.
Cracking is seen in the corner of a room at Ecole Notre Dame du Cap French School in Cape St. George, which has been closed due to structural problems.

She said the other option presented to them was sending their children to the French school in Mainland but they didn’t want that to happen.

“It’s too long a trip for little children, especially when some are already traveling from as far as Ship Cove,” Hinks said.

She said they would also fear that it would result in blending classes and result in some educators losing their jobs.

“We want to keep it in our community and we don’t want to lose our French school. If this one is not salvageable, we’ll fight for a new school,” she said.

The recommended steps for the next phase are:

Gather geotechnical information about the existing soils for the entire plan area of the building.

Determine amount of subsidence of the fill under the slab-on-grade.

Determine condition of cross-ties.

Obtain survey information for key locations inside and outside of the building.

Determine and document structural arrangements of the building to allow a structural engineer to make an in-depth review of all the critical structural components.

Prepare arrangement drawings that summarize the structural deficiencies and provide general information about the repairs that would be needed.

Prepare a report that provides an inventory of the repairs needed by the building as well as the estimated cost of implementing those repairs.

Completion of the above steps would then allow the Department of Transportation and Works to make a final decision about what should be done with the building.

If it is decided to restore the building, the next phase would entail the preparation of detailed design drawings and specifications to facilitate the construction of the required repairs.

Source: Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions report

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