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Wallkill Valley TimesBroken pipe closes PBES classrooms

Broken pipe closes PBES classrooms

An early morning pipe burst in Pine Bush Elementary School has led to classrooms being closed off and students being transported to E.J. Russell Elementary School.

On January 9, a pipe burst in the ceiling of a kindergarten classroom, flooding the school’s first floor. Although the school’s Operations and Maintenance personnel removed all standing water, secondary water damage and moisture issues remain. An industrial hygienist conducted testing in the areas that were flooded and found possible elevated mold spores in a single classroom.

“After consultation with the [industrial hygienist] professional, my senior leadership team and the leadership at [Pine Bush Elementary], we have decided to eliminate the potential for possible future hazards within the recently flooded areas,” says Pine Bush Superintendent Tim Mains in a note sent to parents. “We will remove building materials in those areas as a precaution to avoid potential water-related issues and avoid fostering any mold growth moving forward. These operations will be completed following New York guidelines, will require us to set-up visible containments and other air control measures, and will be completed under the direction of the [industrial hygienist] professional who is qualified as a NYS licensed mold assessor.”

Three first grade classrooms and one multi-age classroom has been relocated to E.J. Russell Elementary School. A shuttle bus has been provided to take students to and from the school. Within Pine Bush Elementary School, four kindergarten classes, Pre-K and one second grade classroom has been relocated. The main office and nurses office is also relocating on the first floor. The Special Programs office, Central Registrar and Assistant Supervisor of Transportation will relocate to Pine Bush HIgh School. Unified Arts (art, music and library) and Support Services will be pushing into classrooms since their rooms will become temporary classrooms.

In an email sent to Pine Bush Staff, Mains says, “This project will require the relocation of all of the teachers and other staff members whose classrooms and offices were located in the area covered by the flood… By Monday all of the temporary spaces will have been established and ready to operate for the next several weeks.”

The clean up process will take four phases. The same day the pipe burst, 25 cleaners, 15 movers and two construction personnel were on site to complete phase one of the project. Phase two began on Monday with ServPro, the company completing the remediation work, cleaning and removing all contents that remain within the contained mitigation area, including cabinets that may be attached to walls, ceiling tiles and floor tiles. The entire content of the school’s library has also been removed. Phase three requires the removal of drywall and any mold discovered within the wall cavity. Once cleaned, the in-wall systems will be treated with an eco-friendly anti-microbial and eventually be reconstructed. Phase four includes putting the classrooms back together with new drywall.

The amount of time it will take to bring students back to classrooms in PB Elementary will largely depend on the amount of mold found within classroom walls.

By Jaspreet Gill

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