A temporary gym is on its way to Osborn Hill Elementary School, swinging into action later this month while PCB contamination is cleaned up at the school's permanent gym.
Use of the Stillson Road school's gymnasium was put off last spring after elevated levels of the toxin were discovered at the building. The highest level of the contaminants -- most likely from fireproofing -- was found in the gym, as well as in caulking materials around windows. The permanent is not expected to be considered safe for use until the next academic year.
Officials had considered two options for housing physical education classes -- a tented structure or a large portable classroom. Sal Morabito, manager of construction, security and safety for the Board of Education, said the temporary structure chosen will be a portable classroom.
The portable gym is under construction in Middletown and is expected to be on site during the week of Oct. 15. It should be ready for use by Oct. 22.
In the meantime, school officials continue to work with environmental consultants and the federal Environmental Protection Agency to schedule specialized cleaning and re-testing of the library media center and two bathrooms that have also been off limits since the start of the school year, according to the Sept. 28 update from Superintendent of Schools David Title and Principal Frank Arnone. To make up for the lack of a computer lab during the cleanup work, a mobile laptop cart and computers have been ordered. They are also expected to arrive at the school the week of Oct. 15.
"When ready, this cart will give all the functionality of the existing computer lab while we work to clear that room for student and staff use," the letter from Title and Arnone said.
Update letters, which had been sent to Osborn Hill parents by school officials every Friday, are now being sent every other Friday, unless there is "critical" news.
The costs of the testing and cleanup at the school are expected to exceed $300,000. The elevated PCB levels were discovered when required testing was conducted prior to a window-replacement project.
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