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Part Of Westchester School Reopens After Mold Problem

Yonkers Public Schools’ Paideia School 15
Yonkers Public Schools’ Paideia School 15 Photo Credit: File

A school reopened its doors on Monday nearly a month after it was forced to shut down due to a dangerous mold outbreak.

Paideia School 15 in Yonkers partially reopened on Oct. 22, with a new roof, following an expedited replacement project that took just weeks and cost the district approximately $3 million.

There was an emergency closing of the K-8 school on Monday, Sept. 24, when ceiling tiles tested positive for black mold. Following the mold outbreak, older students above grade four attended classes at St. Bartholomew School on Saw Mill River Road, while the younger students attended the Robert C. Dodson School on Avondale Road.

At a Board of Education meeting, the school's facility management director John Carr said that the building is now "watertight.

"Happy to say that the roof is watertight, and the clean up is completed, except for some repairs that still need to be made to HVAC equipment and some sheetrock and ceiling tiles," he said. "We have to have that functioning the way it's supposed to by mid-November."

Carr added that the roof is getting replaced, "in record time," at the meeting.

"If we had been there, say during the summer, and said this needs a new roof it still would have been 12 to 18 months away from us starting construction," Carr said. "I think people forget that."

Prior to the school's reopening, Schools Superintendent Edwin Quezada announced that air samples taken from the building showed that all areas of the school are cleared for reoccupancy, though it remained under construction as they installed the new roof.

The first two floors are now open, while the third floor will remain temporarily closed as the finishing touches are put in place on the roof. Older students are expected to remain at St. Bartholomew School for several more weeks, until the third floor is given the "all clear." Pre-K through fourth-grade students are back in Paideia School 15 as of Monday.

Yonkers Public Schools spokesperson Jerilynne Fierstein said, “the repair and rehabilitation work at Paideia School 15 due primarily to the roof failure is progressing. Adelaide Environmental Health Associates is monitoring interior restoration and conducting air quality sampling and testing as appropriate. LiRo Engineers, an independent auditor, is additionally providing environmental monitoring and expertise."

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