News / Calgary

One flooded Calgary Board of Education school to open on time, another 'deteriorating rapidly'

Calgary parents from one school ravaged by flooding breathed a collective sigh of relief Tuesday, while those from a more badly damaged building feared portions of the cherished site would be lost for good.

The Calgary Board of Education revealed at a meeting that Rideau Park School will have its $4 million worth of flood-related repairs completed and ready for the first day of classes Sept. 3.

But students from nearby Elbow Park School have already been told it will be years before that building reopens, and a complete demolition and rebuild may be required.

CBE Supt. of facilities Frank Coppinger informed dozens in attendance at the meeting that an "underground river" formed at Elbow Park and the school is "deteriorating rapidly." Particularly troubling, he said, is that the beams positioned over the library are beginning to separate.

"It means it's a very onerous exercise to underpin the foundations around that library to make it safe," Coppinger said, before adding, "(But) it can be done."

CBE officials did remain optimistic that a dozen modulars being installed a few kilometres north at Earl Grey School would be ready to serve as a temporary home for Elbow Park's few hundred kids by Sept. 9, less than a week after classes are scheduled to resume for all other students.

Elbow Park School expressed concerns Tuesday about busing to their modular site at Earl Grey, staggered start times that could see classes pushed back to 9 a.m. every morning and salvaging the original Elbow Park library, which one mother described as the school's "heart and soul,"

Many in attendance also commended the efforts of the CBE, city and province to get plans for a replacement facility in place.

"I was really pleased that they had a quick solution for us . . . it was my wish that we had a place to go that was nearby," said Jennifer Spencer, whose family is living in Britannia while awaiting a return to their flooded Elbow Park home.

Spencer will now likely drive her daughter Rebecca, who's heading into Grade 3, part of the way to Earl Grey and then rely on newly added bus routes to take her the rest of the way.

June's flooding was the likely the first to impact CBE schools in the organization's history.

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