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October 07, 2017

Cheltenham High School's library to close after mold found

Schools Closures
113916_HSCheltenhamHS Source/Google Street View

Cheltenham High School.

The school library at Cheltenham High School is set to close after a recent inspection conducted weeks into the new school year found mold in the air and on books.

The library will close Monday for a complete renovation project that is expected to last into next spring, Principal Ray McFall said in an email sent Friday to district families.

In the email, obtained by PhillyVoice, McFall said the district enlisted environmental testing company 1Source two weeks ago to test the library for mold. The company recommended the district remediate the problem immediately, McFall said.

"As a result of this recommendation, and because of our obvious concern for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, we will be closing the CHS library as of Monday, October 9," he wrote. 

"Due to these findings, and the remediation that must take place as a result, we will be accelerating the complete renovation of the library and the HVAC system, a project that is part of the 5-year Facilities Plan, but that was not originally scheduled to take place until a later date."

The district is reviewing "our physical space" and services offered at the library to develop a "contingency plan to minimize the impact on our students and staff," McFall said.

The district will share those plans with parents next week, the email stated.

Some questioned the announcement on the Facebook group "Democrats for a Bipartisan Cheltenham School Board." 

In the group, which calls for bipartisanship and change on the school board, users questioned why the testing was conducted in recent weeks and not during the summer, when school was out of session. 

One brought up that the mold may have spread elsewhere in the building, and another said they hope the situation doesn't turn into "another Cedarbrook debacle."

In December 2013, a recurring mold problem forced the district to close Cedarbrook Middle School and build a new school. A website for the middle school states that the district awaits a September 2017 opening for the new building, but one parent said the school did not open when classes resumed last month.

Efforts to reach district officials for comment on Saturday were unsuccessful.

Friday's announcement also came one day after Holly Glen Elementary School in South Jersey was forced to close because of mold found in the school. The school is set to close for several months to allow for remediation and repairs, according to NBC 10.