THREE SPRINGS, Pa (WTAJ)– Southern Huntingdon County School district hosted a townhall style meeting to discuss the closing of the Spring Farms Elementary School building for the 2023-24 school year.
This comes after an in-ground heating oil tank leaked around 7,600 gallons of oil into the ground in January.
The meeting on Wednesday, March 14 was originally scheduled to discuss the future plans of the district, including the possibility of building a new elementary facility, but most of the concern was focused on the closure of the building.
“What has happened since January is, when we had the oil release at Spring Farms, we had the meeting scheduled and then that has brought into the equation a one-year closing,” District Superintendent Dwayne Northcraft said. “Basically we will not be using the spring farms building for one year.”
Students from the building have been moved to the Southern Huntingdon High/Middle School where they utilize open classrooms, as well as the auditorium and auxiliary gym.
“The challenge that we have is we really don’t know yet what we are dealing with, so we have borings that have been done and those results are at a laboratory,” Northcraft said. “We have wells that have not yet been drilled and we have not had any of the oil release and none of the fuel oils have shown up in any of them that have been tested in a 2,500-foot radius.”
So far no fumes have been detected in the building and no oil has been found in any of the groundwater that they have tested.
Some parents at the meeting expressed their confusion about why then the decision was made to keep the building closed. Northcraft says that they decided to proceed with caution to prevent future disruptions.
“We are trying to avoid disruption because then we don’t want to be faced with having to get on the system and saying hey we are only here half a day everyone go home,” Northcraft added.