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Two School Openings Delayed

Mold cleanup has stalled Montco's Cedarbrook Middle and North Wales Elementary Schools.

By Leslie A. Pappas
Philly Inquirer Staff Writer

Mold problems further delayed the start of two Montgomery County schools yesterday, one until Monday and the other indefinitely.

In the Cheltenham School District, Cedarbrook Middle School pushed back its opening date a second time, to Monday.

The school board voted last week to postpone the start of classes until tomorrow to rid the building of mold that cleaning crews had found. Originally, the school was set to open yesterday.

Cheltenham School District Superintendent Christopher McGinley said that replacing insulation on pipes in the school's cooling system took longer than expected, causing the second delay.

About 800 students will miss 31/2 days of school because of the cleanup. They will make up one of those days on Sept. 26, when other Cheltenham schools are off for a teacher planning day, McGinley said. The district has not decided yet whether the other days will be rescheduled.

In the North Penn School District, North Wales Elementary School remains closed after problems with the air-conditioning system last month caused mold to form in the fourth- and fifth-grade wing of the school.

Christine Liberaski, North Penn's coordinator of school and community services, could not say when the school would reopen.

"As soon as possible, we will reopen it," she said.

Cleanup crews have finished their work, but the school district is still awaiting results of the air-quality tests and is not sure when they will be available, Liberaski said. "It could be [today], it could be Thursday," she said.

The district is organizing an emergency day camp at Sanctuary United Methodist Church in North Wales to accommodate some of the approximately 450 students who are affected. Teachers and support staff from the school will run the camp, which will offer structured activities but will not be a substitute for regular classes.

Parents can register children for the day camp by calling the district office at 215-368-0400, Ext. 208.

Updates on North Wales Elementary can be found on the district's Web site (, or at 215-368-7663.

More information about Cedarbrook Middle School can be found on the district's Web site (, Channel 42, or by calling 215-881-6215.

Contact staff writer Leslie Pappas at 610-313-8125 or

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Lisa Schaeffer Philadelphia Mercury 08/28/2003

BOYERTOWN -- The toxic mold discovered in the Pine Forge Elementary School is not only an inconvenience for the Boyertown Area School District, but a major expense as well.

Charles D. Amuso, the Boyertown Area School District superintendent, estimates that the cleanup at Pine Forge Elementary School could cost more than $350,000.

Unlimited Restoration Inc. of Pottstown, the cleanup firm hired to do the job, has been working nearly every day to try to have the school cleaned by Sept 9.

If things remain on schedule, the cleanup will be completed by the target date. The cleanup includes ripping up the carpets in the classrooms, hallways, and possibly even the library.

Once the cleanup is complete, there will still be much more work to do, and a lot more money to be spent.

Amuso said that the school was given a bid award of $164,000 for the cleanup, and an additional $10,000 if the carpet in the library needs to be removed.

The old carpets will be replaced with tiles. Amuso is unsure of the cost of the tile until a facilities engineer is able to measure how many square feet of tile must be installed. The cost of tile is $1 per square foot, which might total as much as $185,000.

Once the tile is replaced, the district is going to have the air in the building tested for any lingering mold.

Indoor Air Solutions of Pottstown will test the air that will add to the growing costs.

Amuso said, that even if it takes time he wants to be sure that everything is safe for the students.

He also said that at this point most of these costs are just estimates and could still vary.

The school district is also spending $350 a day for use of the St. Columbkill Roman Catholic Church, where 275 students will attend classes for the next several weeks.

Amuso said that so far teachers and administrators at the school have been extremely calm about being relocated, and he is positive about the project.

"I think it is going well so far," Amuso said. "The cleanup crew has committed a large amount of staff members and all the time needed, so they are on schedule."

All of the teaching materials needed for the church were first cleaned and transported to the church.

In addition to the relocation of teaching materials and students, 25 professional staff members are also relocating.

Barry Kulakowski will act as the interim principal. Kulakowski was a fifth-grade teacher at Pine Forge, and will take on the job as principal at the church.

Amuso hopes to have all the work completed, and the children back at Pine Forge by Sept. 29.

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