April 3, 2009

Parshall elementary school dealing with unusual situation

Parshall elementary school dealing with unusual situation
An issue facing the Parshall School District isn’t going to have an easy fix or have a light price tag, but school board members agreed Tuesday the situation must be rectified as soon as possible.
Superintendent Steve Cascaden briefed the board, teachers, patrons and students on a sink drainage problem in the kitchen of the elementary school that since being discovered has led to other issues in the building.
“We found years and years of food particles and grease on the south side that got down into the ground and foundation,” Cascaden said. “My estimate is this has been ongoing for 15 to 25 years.”
In a letter to elementary parents, Cascaden said the problem started with a fly infestation behind a wall that grew to other parts of the school. As a construction crew began tearing it apart, the situation became obvious.
Floors and parts of a wall have been jackhammered, corroded pipes have been identified and taken out of the building and contaminated soil has been removed from under the floor. More flooring and wall needs to be removed prior to new construction. Cascaden said his biggest concern now is to make sure the contamination didn’t get under the gymnasium floor. He doubts, however, there is any damage under the gym floor. Nonetheless, it needs to be probed to make sure.
“As we get into it more, it’s a complete disaster,” Cascaden said. “If you can imagine 20 years of garbage? It stinks, there’s no doubt about it.”
As a result of the kitchen being shut down and a portion of the building smelling like a hog barn, elementary students are being bused to the high school for their noon lunches, but as Cascaden pointed out, that is putting pressure on the high school staff despite extra employees working in the kitchen to accommodate the 160 children making the daily trip.
The gym and the kitchen have been sealed off from the rest of the school and according to Cascaden, health inspectors have OK’d use of the rest of the building.

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