Port Edward Elementary School has been deemed safe, in an Aug. 2021 engineering report, after cracks in walls and foundations are evident just nine years after constrcution. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Port Edward Elementary School has been deemed safe, in an Aug. 2021 engineering report, after cracks in walls and foundations are evident just nine years after constrcution. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Port Edward School is safe, despite cracking in foundations and walls

Engineers find no major structural issues in 9-year-old school addition

The nine-year-old school addition in Port Edward is safe, despite cracks in the drywall, corridors, floor slabs, and ceiling, as well as significant heaving in the hallways all being evident, Port Edward District Council heard at a regular meeting on Oct. 12.

The issues were first noticed in June 2020 by School District 52, which lease the multipurpose space from the district.

Engineering company, McElhanney completed an August 2021 inspection and structural assessment to document issues and offer recommendations for moving forward.

“It’s basically cosmetic, some shifting of the foundation or the floors … It’s not a major structural concern, it’s not going to cave in or anything like that,” Knut Bjorndal, mayor of Port Edward, said. “It can be easily repaired. It’s like your house shifting. It’s not shifting anywhere to cause any safety issues for people using it.”

Danielle Myles Wilson, chief administrative officer for Port Edward, said the issues are common in many buildings in the area.

“[McElhanney] confirmed that the structure is completely safe … The issue is most likely due to the swelling of structural fill, which is very common in the area. There are many buildings in the Prince Rupert area as well that have experienced this type of heaving. We’re continuing to monitor the problem,” she said.

Baseline measurements for future monitoring have been recorded for ongoing observation which will occur each quarter as part of the maintenance plan.

“If there’s any movement beyond the specified amount by the structural engineer that we would have to get them to come in to redo the structural assessment. So we’re fully in conversation with the school district about this. And we’re on the same page about what the monitoring and maintenance program looks like,” Myles Wilson said.


 
K-J Millar | Journalist 
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