Gateways High School students concerned about building's safety

Students from Gateway Alternative High School are concerned to be in the building where some of their classes are.

Posted: Dec. 12, 2018 6:33 PM
Updated: Dec. 13, 2018 8:54 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Some students at Gateways Alternative High School in Springfield are concerned about the safety of one of the buildings at the school and believe there are several safety hazards that need to be addressed.

The building is known as the Memorial Building and is owned by Willamalane Park & Recreation District.

Willamalane Superintendent Michael Wargo said they are in the third year of a three-year contract with Springfield Public Schools.

He said the building was constructed in 1956 and said there have not been any major structural improvements since then.

Student body president Sonny Molinari has some of his classes in the building. Molinari said he and other students, as well as teachers, believe the building has several safety concerns, like exposed pipes, mold and ants.

But Molinari said their main concern is it may not be up to seismic standards.

"We're in earthquake territory, and this building not being up to earthquake code with our most vulnerable students in there, that's ridiculous,” Molinari said. “It's not a safe situation for anyone involved, teachers included, administrators included."

Molinari said he reached out to both Willamalane and the school district multiple times the last couple of months with his concerns but said they never got back to him.

KEZI 9 News reached out to officials with Springfield Public Schools, and they referred KEZI to Willamalane officials.

Below is a statement Wargo emailed to KEZI in response to the concerns from students:

“As the owner of the building, we work very closely with SPS regarding their needs to operate out of the building. Besides today’s complaint from a student, we have not heard official concerns from the school district about any hazardous conditions. Like we repaired the boiler last winter after staff brought heating issues to our attention, we address the issues we can after they have been professionally assessed.”

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