Hanes, Lowrance schools to remain empty as officials decide how to address toxic vapors

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The main entrance to Hanes and Lowrance middle schools on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Hanes and Lowrance middle schools will stay empty next year while school officials decide how to address the threat of toxic vapors that tests conducted earlier this month found in significant levels in the soil below the schools but not inside classrooms, according to The Winston-Salem Journal.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education voted 7-1 Thursday night to keep students off of the campus for the 2015-16 school year, instead keeping Lowrance students at Atkins High School and putting all Hanes students on the former Hill Middle School site.

Board members said the decision would allow families to plan and make choices about where to send their children in the fall while giving the district time to address the issues caused by groundwater contamination under the property – the result of chemicals spills at a manufacturer across the street decades earlier.
Elisabeth Motsinger was the lone opposing vote. Vic Johnson was absent.

Monitoring wells on the school property have measured concentrations of two chemicals – PCE and TCE – well above state safety standards. Earlier this month, a consulting firm hired by the school district conducted indoor-air, outdoor-air and soil vapor tests to see what, if any, threat those underground chemicals posed to students and staff inside the schools.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal

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