School, Closed For Mold, Also Needs To Remove Asbestos

Lakehurst Elementary School remains closed. (Photo by Jason Allentoff)

LAKEHURST – Lakehurst Elementary School students and staff won’t be returning to the building until Jan. 2, school officials said.

Superintendent Loren Fuhring confirmed with The Manchester Times that mold remediation continues, but some unexpected findings pushed the reopening back from Nov. 12 to 2019.

The superintendent said all the carpets in the building needed to be removed, which revealed asbestos tiling underneath in about 27 classrooms. That abatement has pushed back the reopening.

While the administration at first thought Kindergarteners and preschoolers may return sooner, they ultimately decided everyone should just come back after Christmas break.

“After much consideration and thought it was determined that the entire student population, including preschool, will return to the building after the December break. It is in the best interest of the students and staff that they are not present during the asbestos remediation. The current placements and procedures will remain in place until our return to the Lakehurst Elementary School building in January. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation,” a message on the district website said.

The cost of remediation, when the plan was to have the school ready by mid-November, was estimated at about $1 million. Fuhring said costs are unknown at this point.

Photo by Jason Allentoff

“There is no estimate at this time, as there are still many costs that have not been specified,” the superintendent said. “We are still in the midst of determining many needs of the project, costs associated for the work, as well as replacement of items and materials lost. In addition, we are working closely with our insurance carrier, ServPro and TTI Environmental to continue to determine the best course of action.”

The K-8 school district has been holding class in several different locations – St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, Whiting Elementary School, Ridgeway Elementary School and Manchester Middle School – while the mold remediation takes place.

The expanded preschool program, which will be held in trailers on school property, is slated to begin Nov. 12.

“Due to the current environmental remediation at Lakehurst Elementary School, the Department of Early Childhood Education has approved the district’s plan to begin schooling for the additional sections of preschool on November 12, 2018,” the school announced on its website. “We sincerely apologize and are aware that this may cause an inconvenience to students and their families. However, the health and safety of all of our students and staff is at the forefront of these decisions. We are grateful for your patience and understanding and look forward to welcoming you upon our return.”