ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An Alexandria elementary school is struggling with mold, water leaks and a faulty roof as some parents believe the building's condition has reached a crisis point.
Mount Vernon Community School, in the Del Ray neighborhood, isn’t far from where the new Amazon headquarters will be built in Northern Virginia.
“Do you think that someone who comes here to work for Amazon for a lot of money wants to come to a school where the roof is caving in?” asked parent Ryann Morales.
Morales said her husband attended the school and has told her little has changed since then. Their daughter, Sawyer, said she has seen mold at the school.
Alexandria City Public Schools has hired an architectural firm to assess the building. That firm just came out with a report that included photos of the damage.
Severe water leakage has shut down the school’s auditorium. The report says water is not only leaking in from above, but there are also issues with groundwater beneath the school.
While the Alexandria City Council has approved $800,000 in emergency funds to replace the roof in December, there is no budget to make other needed repairs so far.
Some parents left a community meeting on Monday frustrated.
“I think our biggest takeaway is we still don’t have a clear plan of action,” said parent Kelley Smith. “ACPS is working incredibly hard. Our principals and teachers are working incredibly hard, but it doesn’t mean that we’re going to get funding for the emergency repairs.”
“This building sounds like it needs the total overhaul,” Morales said. “I’m also concerned with how they are going to do a roof replacement with our kids in the school.”
The school district’s chief operating officer said at the meeting that issues at this school are not uncommon, and that there is mold and other significant problems at many schools in the district.
No one from Alexandria City Public Schools would do an on-camera interview with FOX 5 on Monday, but provided a statement instead:
"Safety is a top priority at ACPS. We will not place any student at risk. In this case, ACPS immediately conducted two environmental assessments at Mount Vernon when the issues arose. Alexandria Health Department reviewed the environmental assessments and confirmed that there was nothing in the report that warranted removal of students from the school building at this point. The Alexandria Health Department also confirmed at the time that there are no anticipated long-term effects from the current environment.
"This fall, the Washington DC region experienced unprecedented amounts of rain. Coupled with this, parts of the building at Mount Vernon are over 75 years old and were significantly impacted by the unusual weather. The building assessment published today was commissioned to pinpoint the exact cause of ongoing water intrusion so that they can be properly addressed. It also identifies the areas of the building that require mold remediation - work that is already currently underway. This report advises using summer recess to address the larger-scale issues and does not indicate any immediate action is warranted for safety reasons.
"In addition to replacing the roof, which will begin in December, the report confirmed that the issues with the building go beyond the roof and include the building envelope, as well as the HVAC and draining systems. Addressing all these issues requires a comprehensive plan that is already in progress.
"The City of Alexandria and school division are working very closely to modernize our aging facilities and to expand capacity in line with anticipated growing student enrollment. ACPS welcomes Amazon to the Northern Virginia area and looks forward to a partnership with Virginia Tech that will expand innovative learning opportunities for all our students."