For years, the water-stained ceilings at Oakland Park’s Northeast High School have sagged and leaked — occasionally forcing the relocation of classes, and prompting constant worry about the effect of mold on the school’s air quality. A badly damaged school roof is the main cause, though malfunctioning school air-conditioning units have also contributed to the pools of water that regularly gather up in the ceilings.
On Tuesday, one section of ceiling in the school’s hallway simply gave out. Chunks of tile dropped to the floor, along with a blast of water. It appears no one was seriously hurt, primarily because the collapse happened during class, when the halls were mostly empty, as opposed to during a period break when teens are crowding the hallways.
“Probably some water fell on some people, not really any ceiling fell on anybody,” said Northeast High junior Janny Raymond, 17, who was near the hallway when the ceiling caved. “It was dripping before, so I guess it was bound to happen.”
The quite literal crumbling of Northeast High is but the latest example of the Broward school district’s massive capital improvements to-do list, which has grown longer as state funding plummeted during the past few years. Cuts to the school district’s share of property taxes — money that pays for building repairs, new construction, and technology — forced the indefinite postponement of about $1.8 billion in planned school improvements.