Birmingham teacher concerned about safety during ongoing school repair

Local News
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — One Birmingham school teacher is speaking out with safety concerns over ongoing construction inside the school building.

Work is being done to improve the heating and air system at the aging campus.

“They’re drilling holes in the sheet rock and they’re not covering any of our material, any of our desks, any of our computers,” said Bernard Warren, a teacher for 14 years at Ramsay High School.

Warren contacted CBS 42 and shared photos of the classrooms. He’s worried about the dust that is left behind after the work.

“Due to the concerns for safety and all of the uncertainties about what is in these particles, what is in this dust, I think that if our district is going to err, they should err on the side of safety,” said Warren.

After dealing with a troubled HVAC system for years, Warren questioned the urgency to begin construction during the school year.

He said contractors have been at the building since August.

“You see exposed pipe and exposed wire in the building, hanging from the ceilings, and in proximity to students’ desks,” Warren said.

CBS 42 reached out to Birmingham City Schools for a response to Warren’s complaint.

“The contractors do not start on that HVAC work until after 3:30, usually more so about 4:15. When that work happens during the evening, there is also a requirement that they do cleanup,” said BCS Executive Director of Strategy and Communications, Sherrel Wheeler Stewart.

Despite the contractual agreement, Warren said contract workers are often in the building during school hours and he believes more oversight is needed.

According to Stewart, heating and air systems are being improved at several campuses in the school district.

“There’s also been an emphasis during this pandemic to upgrade HVAC systems to ensure air quality is optimum with this new equipment,” said Stewart.

Stewart told CBS 42 that work on the HVAC system should be completed by early November. Roofing and painting repairs are also planned for the building, Stewart said.

“We believe the end result will be a more comfortable and safer environment for our scholars, our teachers, and all of our employees here at Ramsay,” said Stewart.

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