School building in Aizpute shut down for safety

The local primary school in the western Kurzeme province town of Aizpute has been closed for safety after its ceiling bulge was determined to be caused by dangerous flaws in its structural second-floor rafter-beams.

“We were in shock that the rafters were in such a state of splitting, nobody had imagined it could have progressed so far. Most now believe the flaw dates back to the addition of the second story onto the foundation – that is, 1957!,” Aizpute county primary school headmaster Andris Jansons told the Aizpute local television crew Friday, after children were sent to temporary spaces managed on local government premises as the historic building, built in 1860, was deemed unsafe for further occupation.

“There was an attempt to attract resources in 2008,” Aizpute county council leader Andris Petrovics recalled, “but the crisis caused the allocation to be delayed indefinitely.”

One class was even moved onto the stage of the community hall out of the need for the creative use of space to house all the 93 local school children affected by the loss of their school building, on average each grade having about ten pupils per class. However the school library and teachers’ lounge are also crammed right there next to the community hall stage now, as well.

Teachers and students say they’re gradually getting used to situation already.

On her part, Agita Šēniņa said she’s accustomed to teaching the kids on the open stage now.

“It’s all in order,” she brushed off the temporary forced move, which is likely to last until the structural defects can be fixed in time for the beginning of next year’s fall school calendar, traditionally on September 1 nationwide.

But Aivars Šilis (Greens-Farmers Union), chairman of the Aizpute District Council in charge of the local county school, said the local government still had to hear the estimates from the reconstruction planners on the possible costs for getting the second floor foundation walls up to code by next year. Until that is known, the elementary school community of Aizpute won't know how much longer they'll be dislocated learners on strange local government properties.

 

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