Toxic issue prompts closure of Richmond middle school for remainder of year

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond middle school will close for the remainder of the year, due to an unsafe indoor air quality issue which a school board member said was caused by mold.

The problem was discovered while investigating a heating concern at Elkhardt Middle School, said Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden.

A million dollar leaky steam pipe contributed to unsafe air quality Bedden said.

A third-party environmental specialist was brought in for expedited, additional testing and they confirmed the issue.

“I have asthma, so, it makes me wheeze a lot,” said 7th grade student Daevon Gordon, who also said he knew something was wrong and he felt uncomfortable.

CBS 6 was told last year by students and staff that they had trouble breathing inside the building. According to Chief Operating Officer Tommy Kranz, it was their recent complaints that led to school leaders testing the air.

“I felt when the heat comes on, the air changes. I don't feel as good,” he said.

Students and staff will be relocated to Clark Springs Elementary School, to ensure their health and safety. They will remain there for the duration of the 2014-2015 school year.

The administration has developed an aggressive plan of action and will be communicating additional details to students, staff and parents this week, said Dr. Bedden.

The district will continue to conduct daily indoor air quality monitoring to ensure the safety and health of all building occupants during this transition period.


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