Close call for students as old school’s library roof caves in
By MARTIN CARVALHO email@example.com
MALACCA: It was a close call for some students of the 184-year-old Malacca High School when the roof of its library came crashing down.
Although no injuries were reported during the incident early yesterday morning as the usually packed library is closed on weekends, there were students and teachers busy celebrating Canteen Day and attending the school’s Parents and Teachers Association meeting at the country’s second oldest school.
The incident is believed to have happened sometime between Friday night and before dawn yesterday and the damage was discovered at 8am by a general worker.
State education, science and technology committee chairman Datuk Yaakub Md Amin said the affected section of the building would be closed temporarily to allow the state public works department to assess the extent of damage and repair costs.
“We will seal off not only the library but also the teachers and staff rooms located within the same building.
“There is a danger the entire roof may collapse as the timber rafters are affected by wood rot due to termite infestation and moisture following the recent wet spell,” he said.
He added that signs of wood rot were spotted a day earlier by the school authorities who immediately alerted state education officials.
The school is more than 180 years old but the single-storey structure where the library is housed was constructed in the 1940s.
The last major renovation done to this section of the building was carried out in 1971, he said.
He said repairs would cost about RM100,000 and would be carried out during the school break in September to allow the library to be opened for the new session next year.
Meanwhile, state MCA chairman Datuk Gan Tian Loo, who was invited to open the school’s PTA meeting, said it was fortunate that no injuries were reported in the incident.
Gan, who is also state public works committee chairman, said he would instruct state public works department to carry out safety inspections of old buildings at several schools in the city.