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Asbestos Shuts Fourth Philly School


By Dan Hounsell IAQ
‘Danger, Asbestos Removal in Progress’ warning sign

Aging institutional and commercial facilities can present a host of risks to both occupants and visitors. While few such risks rise to the level of the tragedy that occurred recently when falling debris from a building facade in New York City killed a pedestrian, an array of risks can post threats to the safety and health of occupants and visitors. The School District of Philadelphia understands such risks all too well these days.

Another Philadelphia public school building recently closed after damaged asbestos was discovered inside, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Franklin Learning Center (FLC) was shut to students and staff through Jan. 2. The damage was found inside an air shaft connecting the school’s attic to its fan room.

FLC is the fourth school this year to have its building shut down because of asbestos. Benjamin Franklin High — a separate school down the street from FLC — and Science Leadership Academy, the magnet school that was to share Franklin High’s North Broad Street building, were shut for weeks. Students at both schools have returned to classes but in temporary locations. Their building is expected to reopen next year.

The closure comes as more than 200 Philadelphia high school students plan to head to Harrisburg on Wednesday to lobby lawmakers over asbestos and lead in their schools.

Because shutting down the fans affects the district’s ability to heat the building, “and in an abundance of caution,” the call was made to close the school immediately. 

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

 

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