Flooding, Asbestos Pose Problems for Orange School

By Amanda Raus and Ari Mason
|  Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014  |  Updated 2:52 PM EDT
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Students at the Peck Place School are being moved to Yale West campus after flooding and asbestos concerns closed their building.

Amanda Raus, Chris Podosek

Students at the Peck Place School are being moved to Yale West campus after flooding and asbestos concerns closed their building.

A custodian at the Peck Place School in Orange arrived last week to find the building had flooded, and now the school is facing an even bigger problem: asbestos.

"He had one inch to two inches of water everywhere on the floors,” said Orange Superintendent of Schools Lynn McMullin. “As we started to look into the classrooms, obviously a pipe had broken. We looked into two classrooms were the pipes had broken, the ceilings came down, insulation was everywhere."

School officials thought they could just move students out of those two classrooms, but the flooding caused floor tiles to start popping, which raised the issue of asbestos.

"The tiles don’t have asbestos, but the mastic is that is used to adhere them is, so in order to repair the floor, you have take all of that out, and that requires an abatement," said McMullin.

Student and teachers were moved to the Race Brook and the Turkey Hill schools. Since it’s not clear how long the abatement will take, the school district has worked out a deal to send students to Yale’s West Campus on the Orange-West Haven line.

Fire marshals checked the building Monday, Jan. 13 to make sure it’s elementary-school friendly and that exits are easily accessible.

"Tomorrow, we’ll have the police do the same in terms of Code Red," said McMullin.

Parents are happy to hear that students and teachers will all be reunited in one building.

"There are three second grade classes and they’re all separated,” said parent Karen Lynn. “Some of the teachers are here, some are at Turkey Hill and there’s no familiarity anymore, so for the comfort of our children."

Meanwhile, students said they can’t wait until they can get back to Peck Place permanently.

"We’re at a whole bunch of schools, so we want to go back to Peck so we’re all together," said student Rhiannon Leandres.

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