Parents complain of leaks, sewage overflow at North Charleston school
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Parents at Malcolm C. Hursey Montessori School are pushing for massive changes after they say leaks and sewage overflow have all been problems on the school’s campus in recent years.
The main building in North Charleston was built in the 1950s and serves pre-k through eighth grade.
One of the main concerns with the property surrounds a lift pump located in the playground that lifts sewage, so it can run down hill.
“There’s stuff around it that’s suppose to keep it from not coming up, but because the school and where the property sits is so old, that it seeps up onto the playground sometimes, especially after it’s rained a lot," Hursey PTA President Susan Ash said.
“You could smell the sewage for two weeks at different times in the day," Ash also said regarding a problem last Spring.
The school district received two complaints of this overflow happening in the past three years, district associate of facility management Ron Kramps said.
“The last issue we heard of an overflow at that station was in February of 2018," Kramps said. “We check that lift station once a month. So, one of our preventative measures is check the lift station to make sure it’s running properly, so that that doesn’t happen again.”
The school has had around 600 work orders filed this year which Kramps said is about the same as others schools of that age.
“On a rainy day, there could be anywhere from one to three leaks in the school," Ash said. "It’s not that the district doesn’t come out and try to address those issues, it’s just that their band-aided issues that don’t fix the problem. Teachers lose material sometimes if it rains, and they’re not there.”
The school district has a team of repair workers dedicated to fixes like this.
“In an older facility, you come out and try to repair something, like a roof leak, and sometimes it can be a little of an iterative process where you think you something solved, and you find out you haven’t and you have to keep working on it," Kramps said. "That’s a pretty typical thing we do. We come out, and we stay at it and try to make repairs to these older facilities.”
An $8.2 million renovation project is now in the works for Hursey. That’s up from the previously approved $5 million set aside for it, according to school district Chief Operating Officer Jeff Borowy.
“In a perfect world, I’d like to be able to get a new school," Ash said. “So, we don’t have to come back, get $8.2 million, do renovations this time, and come back in five years and say, ‘That quite wasn’t enough. There’s a lot of different issues, and now we need a new school.'"
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey is also supporting the parents’ push, according to his spokesperson Ryan Johnson.
“He is in full support of building a new school whether it be on that site or another,” Johnson said. “It is long overdue.”
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