By Sara-Megan Walsh
Widespread concerns over indoor air quality will keep the K-wing of Northport Middle School closed for the upcoming 2017-18 school year, Northport school officials announced.
On Aug. 9, Northport school district held a community forum to address parents concerned over what health risks may be posed to students in the classrooms where an earth science teacher reported smelling gasoline fumes in April. The fumes were said to be coming from a petroleum-based warehouse located beneath the K-wing. The materials have since been removed.
The most recent air-quality tests, performed July 22 by Hauppauge-based J.C. Broderick & Associates Inc., an environmental and construction testing firm, showed no hazardous concentration of chemicals in any of the samples. But four chemicals commonly linked to perfumes, natural rubber products, air conditioners and refrigerators, thermoplastics and latex paints were found in high concentrations — above the 95th percentile — in the K-wing corridor, rooms 74 and 75. These results were reported to the New York State Department of Health, according to J.C. Broderick & Associates’ report.
Northport Superintendent Robert Banzer said the wing’s closure will not affect scheduled classes other than moving their locations, as students can be readily accommodated by reallocating use of existing classrooms.
The district has a plan of action in place to continue air-quality sampling throughout the building.