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Somerville (Massachusetts) district closes preK-8 campus because of asbestos exposure

Aug. 9, 2023
Officials say a consultant reported finding asbestos in the Winter Hill Community Innovation School.

Asbestos problems have forced the Somerville (Massachusetts) school system to close a preK-8 campus for the entire 2023-34 school year.

The Boston Herald reports that Winter Hill Community Innovation School will not reopen this year after a consultant discovered “the unexpected presence of asbestos in material not typically found to contain asbestos."

“The city closed the building, and it will remain closed to all until further notice as we work to investigate the findings and remediate the material," Superintendent Ruben Carmona and Mayor Katjana Ballantyne wrote in a letter to families and staffers.

Winter Hill, constructed in 1975, has been prone to faulty infrastructure for years. Officials closed the campus in June after concrete crumbled from the ceiling and fell onto a staircase inside the 95,000-square-foot building while it was not occupied.

Winter Hill teachers and staffers packed up their classrooms and offices in late July. District officials say about 425 students displaced from Winter Hill will be relocated to the Edgerly Education Center and the Capuano School for the 2023-24 school year as the district formulates plans for renovating or rebuilding Winter Hill.

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