Exposed Rebar, Falling Rubble Worry JESS Parents, PTA

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The JESS PTA hosted an emergency meeting last week to deal with structural issues at the Cruz Bay campus, above.

When a parent sends their child to school, they worry about myriad things, from assignments to bullies, yet what several Julius E. Sprauve School parents fear most each day relates to the actual Cruz Bay school building.

Built in the mid-1950s, JESS, which is comprised of students from kindergarten through eighth grade, has obvious structural issues, visible across the campus, but worst in the far building which houses kindergarten and the school library.

The exposed rebar, falling rubble and serious cracks in load-supporting walls at the Cruz Bay public school campus were enough to force the JESS Parent and Teacher Association to host an emergency meeting last week.

“The Department of Education promised they would fix the building back in December, but they haven’t done anything,” said Johana Parris, a JESS parent. “My kids go here and I’m concerned. It’s unsafe.”

Exposed rebar, falling rubble, holes in ceilings and cracks in walls are visible in buildings across JESS’ Cruz Bay campus, above and below.

“Every time there is a little earthquake, I get so worried and call the school to make sure everything is okay,” said Parris.

“This is the only school on St. John that many of these kids can go to,” said JESS PTA President Gyasi Liburd. “This school needs to be repaired. The structure of the school is falling apart.”

“These concerns must be answered,” said Liburd.

Department of Education officials claimed the work would take about four weeks, yet don’t want to close the school during classes, Liburd explained.

“They said they could do the work in four weeks, but they don’t want to close the school,” said the JESS PTA President. “ But they could do a little bit at a time a least. Just get something done on the weekends or over Easter break.”

The worst of the structural issues appear to be in the far building which houses the youngest students and the high-traffic library area, explained JESS PTA Vice President Ruthan Fahie.

“We need to get this fixed,” she said. “The youngest kids at the school use that side and all of the kids go to the library. It’s just not right.”

“It’s dangerous,” said Liburd. “We have parents who are concerned and our kids deserve better. It’s only gotten worse from last year and it’s unacceptable.”