From severe water damage to mold issues to traces of asbestos located in the school's music room, Hinsdale Middle School has had a very rough start to the New Year.
The school reopened Tuesday after being closed for several weeks. Students had been attending a split-schedule at Clarendon Hills Middle School since Jan. 23.
Superintendent Renee Schuster noted in a letter Tuesday to parents that while life is getting "back to normal" at the middle school, "the facility challenges at HMS have not yet been fully addressed."
"Our immediate focus has been getting the building safe and ready for classes. We have next steps to tackle in regard to the work to be completed by SERVPRO, the impact on this year’s calendar, and of course the facility itself and its long-term future," Schuster wrote in the Tuesday letter. "We also want to continue investigating the reports of health concerns to ensure those have been alleviated to the best of our ability."
Timeline of HMS Closure; Mold, Asbestos Issues
- A pipe leak on Saturday, Jan. 4 was discovered in the school's music room. That night, the fire department responded to an alarm triggered by water flow in the sprinkler system, due to the extreme weather, and found damage on all three floors of the school.
- School was closed on Jan. 6 and 7 due to extreme cold.
- Then, on Jan. 8, shortly before students and staff returned to school, a domestic water pipe broke in room 216, causing additional water damage to the music room below. As cleaning got underway, air quality tests showed the air quality to be within acceptable guidelines.
- On Jan. 16, "A representative from Integrity Environmental Services took surface samples of possible mold growth observed by SERVPRO staff, who were on site to perform deep cleaning and removal of wet drywall," according to the Hinsdale Middle School website.
- The district announced it would close school on Friday, Jan. 17 as the district awaited results of the mold test.
- On Jan. 18, the results "showed low concentrations of mold spores on the drywall and surface samples tested," according to the HMS website.
- School was also not in session Jan. 20 through Jan. 22.
- On Jan. 21, a report of of possible asbestos was made to administration on January 21. upon consultation with the Illinois Department of Public Health, Integrity Environmental Services conducted aggressive air sampling in Room 124, Room 126 and adjacent areas to determine if there were any asbestos fibers in the air. Testing has confirmed zero (0) traces of asbestos fibers were found in the 13 TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy) air samples.
- As the school worked to remedy the problem, students began a split schedule with Clarendon Hills Middle School began on Jan. 23.
- Hinsdale Middle School reopens on Feb. 4.
The above information was updated on Feb. 3.