School Construction Work Leads to Leaks

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As Navasota Primary expands to house a new gym, cafeteria, offices and library, the construction has made for some cramped quarters.

"It's been a little crowded," said Principal Bill Murray. "We've had to move some classrooms because some have had to be closed."

And the recent deluge hasn't helped matters. "Yesterday, we had water in our offices, and some of the classrooms have had some water," Murray said.

The primary school is the oldest of the five schools in Navasota's school district, and it has had a flat roof on it. The problem, at least with the leaks, is coming from the new roof that's being put on. As the supports for the new roof are being attached to the old roof, there is the potential for a leak at each attachment.

"It's unsanitary and unsafe to these kids," said Jamie Pivonka, a concerned parent with a child who has classes at Navasota Primary. "They could fall and crack their heads open on the floors or anything."

Pivonka said a construction site, wet or dry, is no place for young children. "They need to either find alternative buildings to put them in, or they need to plug those holes as they're putting the pillars in instead of putting children through this," Pivonka said.

Murray says he's received no complaints from any parents, that no children have been hurt or made ill by the conditions, and that moving the whole school's operations elsewhere during construction would be a logistical nightmare.

"The district has been quick to respond and sent every maintenance worker out here," Murray said. "They usually beat me to the school in the morning when that happens."

But Pivonka says parents should still be concerned by the construction. "I won't even send my child to school," she said. "She's having to be babysat and miss school and miss out on this stuff because of the situation."

"It's not going to come without problems," Murray said of the construction, "and we realize that we're going to have to be flexible, but we're doing everything we can to keep kids safe."

The $8 million project was part of major upgrades to facilities in a bond approved by Navasota voters at the end of 2004. The new roof should be in place in the next couple of weeks, which Murray says should cure the leak issue.