Additional Cleaning Underway at Hall School
An independent environmental consultant hired by the Portland Public Schools to inspect Hall Elementary School has recommended additional cleaning of the areas directly affected by the September 17 fire and the adjoining hallway.
Work now is underway to complete abatement of Rooms 18, 20 and 22c by gutting them and performing a fine cleaning. Additional wall areas in the adjoining hallway also will be replaced. The results of environmental tests on completed work will be made public before students and staff return to affected areas of the building.
The district is planning to hold a public meeting for Hall School families later this week, and will announce a location date, and time by the end of the day on October 2. Mark Coleman of Environmental Safety and Hygiene Associates, the firm hired to perform the independent environmental assessment, will be available to answer questions at the meeting. School officials and other staff overseeing the cleanup also will participate.
Hall School has been holding classes at the former Cathedral School on Congress Street since September 25. The district is reviewing the timeline for completion of the cleaning with Coleman. Based on that schedule, plans will be made to move students and staff back to Hall.
“We appreciate the incredible efforts of our students, staff and parents to adapt to these difficult circumstances,” said Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. “We will complete the thorough cleaning of Hall as soon as possible and keep the community updated about our progress.”
Timeline of Hall Elementary School Fire Cleanup
Week of September 17
- Respond to September 17 electrical fire put out by Hall’s sprinkler system.
- Remove a reported 7,000 gallons of water.
- Repair roof.
- Remove material from the three affected rooms (18, 20 and 22c) and the nearby hall and begin gutting the rooms.
- Conduct environmental tests to target cleanup efforts.
- Seek alternative space for Hall School to hold classes.
- Arrange with the Maine Department of Education for Hall to receive additional time to give students standardized tests.
- Staff makes plans for various contingencies depending on where classes will be held.
- Send updates to parents and staff on September 17, 18 and 21.
Week of September 24
- Continue demolition in the three affected rooms.
- Conduct additional environmental tests in Room 16 and complete fine cleaning.
- Arrange transportation for Hall students to the former Cathedral School on Congress Street.
- Hold public forum on September 24to inform Hall families about plans for classes at Cathedral and to allow them to tour the space.
- Resume classes for Hall students on September 25 at Cathedral.
- Hire Mark Coleman of Environmental Safety and Hygiene Associates (ESHA) to provide an independent environmental assessment of Hall.
- Send updates to parents and staff on September 24 and 27.
Week of October 1
- Review ESHA test results that indicate the need for additional cleanup in the three affected rooms and adjoining hallway.
- Hire ESHA to complete the abatement and environmental testing of the school.
- Conduct public forum to update Hall families and staff and to answer questions.