Mold contamination has forced about 1,300 students from Willowridge High School in the Fort Bend (Texas) district to begin the school year at another campus about five miles away.
The district says that Willowridge is undergoing an extensive cleanup to remove mold growth that workers discovered during the summer. While the remediation continues, the students have been relocated to Marshall High.
"Despite our round-the-clock efforts, the school will not be ready to welcome students on the first day of school," Superintendent Charles Dupre said in a letter to the community earlier this month.
As part of the remediation, Fort Bend plans to install new flooring, and ceiling tile, sheetrock, and acquire new classroom and office furniture and instructional materials and equipment.
The decision to have Marshall share its space with Willowridge is based on several factors, Dupre says, including "proximity, availability of space, and the positive relationships that already exist among students and staff at the two schools."
"After both principals engaged with a number of staff and community members, it solidified our belief that keeping all [Willowridge] students and staff together in the same building will provide our students and staff with the best learning environment, rather than splitting the students by grade levels at other facilities or campuses," the superintendent says.
School officials say the remediation work is projected to be completed in mid-September, but they caution that "additional work will need to be done before staff and students can return to the building."
The Houston Chronicle reports that the cleaning and repair at Willowridge are estimated to cost $7.6 million.