Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Waters bill to make schools safer passes House

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – A bill that will make school structures safer and prevent dangers like roof collapses passed the House Tuesday, a week after the anniversary of a Tempe school’s roof collapse.

House Bill 2760, sponsored by Rep. Rae Waters, D-Ahwatukee (District 20), requires that that each school adopts preventative maintenance guidelines for its buildings, including plumbing, electrical systems, heating, ventilation, and other special systems. It also recommends that roofing systems be inspected for signs of structural weakness by a licensed contractor.

“My hope is that this bill will ensure a safer learning environment for our children while at the same time improve our schools,” Waters said. “The value of education is only as good as the structures that support and maintain it, and improved infrastructure puts us one step closer in getting Arizona on the right track.”

On March 16, 2009, C.I. Waggoner Elementary School’s roof collapsed onto the multipurpose room. Luckily, no children were in the school at the time, but the disaster flooded 12 classrooms and forced students to miss several days of school.

The collapse at Waggoner was just one incident in a disturbing trend of infrastructure failures at schools last year — McDowell Mountain Elementary in Fountain Hills and Santa Maria Middle School in Tolleson both endured roof collapses.

The bill passed the House unanimously.

For more information and photos of roof collapses and infrastructure issues please visit http://www.azsfb.gov/sfb/Announcements/ASBA%20Presentation%20121009.pdf.

To see an exclusive interview with Waters about her bill, please visit www.azhousedemocrats.com.

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