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Coleytown Middle School classroom closed off by mysterious odor

Published 6:00 pm, Thursday, December 19, 2013
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Something smells at Coleytown Middle School.

And the mysterious odor detected periodically in Room 220 over the last month has prompted school officials to close off student access to that room.

In an email to Coleytown parents Thursday, Principal Kris Szabo said Room 220 will remain closed while efforts continue to clean the premises and eradicate the smell.

The first report about the odor to the school staff was Nov. 7, according to Szabo's note. Students and staff using the room were re-assigned to another classroom, she said.

"Ceiling tiles were pulled, cabinets and the unit ventilator were cleaned. There was no sign of moisture, mold or mildew in this room, in ceiling or in the hall outside the classroom," according to Szabo.

The odor had disappeared, she said, and use of the classroom resumed Nov. 11.

But the next day the odor was detected again, so students and staff were again moved to another classroom, and "not permitted to use the room until further notice."

Custodians checked Room 220 again, looking above the ceiling tiles and in the hallway, and no evidence of mold, moisture or mildew was found, the email state.

The carpet in the room was removed and replaced with CVT tile, and all of the furniture was cleaned.

But when a Coleytown staff member and some students entered the room Wednesday, they again "complained about a faint odor," Szabo said, prompting them to be immediately removed from the room.

On Thursday, she said, "no odor was present. The unit ventilator had been turned off resulting in limited air circulation. The unit ventilator has been turned on, tiles were inspected and moisture readings taken. There was no sign of moisture, mildew or mold.

"... We believe the source of the odor may be attributed to the old carpet and the residual odor from the new tile installation," Szabo wrote.

"Room 220 remains closed at this time so that the new tile can be properly scrubbed and wax coated."