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Washington School’s Library Closed Over Health Concerns

Air quality testing of the school's portable buildings awaits proposal from contractor

Santa Barbara School District officials have closed Washington Elementary School’s library because of health concerns and until air quality testing has been completed.

No other portable buildings at Washington will be closed, according to Deputy Superintendent Eric Smith.

There are concerns of mold and other unhealthy byproducts of water leaks and the like, as many portables are decades old.

Staff and parents have complained about air quality in Washington’s portables since 2006, and the Parents for Excellence in Public Schools Indoor Air Quality Committee has said it mistrusts past district testing.

It negotiated with the district over a mutually agreeable agency to use this time around and came up with Panacea Inc. If its proposal is appropriate — in scope of testing and price — then the district will proceed with Panacea as testers.

Some testing was prompted by the school’s librarian. A 2008 test concluded that the library didn’t have an indoor air-quality problem, although new heaters would “provide the classroom with much-needed fresh air and should improve the air quality sufficient to (the librarian’s) satisfaction,” tester John Costa wrote.

Testing contractor Panacea Inc. was on site for the first time Thursday, so its proposal won’t be considered by the Santa Barbara school board until the first December meeting, Smith said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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