A group of Richmonders is continuing its fight to keep A.V. Norrell Elementary School closed.
The school board decided it will move forward with plans to re-open the controversial building for a preschool program Tuesday night. Now, "Parents For Life 2012" is consulting lawyers to see what kind of legal action it could take to prevent kids from going to classes there starting next week.
Most of the research "Parents For Life 2012" gave board members goes back to 2006-2007, after contaminated flood waters from Tropical Storm Ernesto became the tipping point to close Norrell Elementary School.
There's a five year gap in documentation. The group says without an update, it assumes there's been no change in the test results, which call into question the facility's safety.
"To be going backwards and putting kids back in a building that was built on or adjacent to a landfill is unacceptable," said School Board Member Kimberly Gray, who cast the lone vote not to reopen the school.
The group is especially concerned about a basic search from the EPA website, which noted an ongoing investigation into designating Norrell a "Superfund site." That designation would mean it is one of the most contaminated places in the country.
The EPA Wednesday said it conducted an investigation of the site back in 2002, after a citizen voiced concern about the air quality in the school. At the time the tests were done, there was not a concern. The file on Norrell has not been closed but it is categorized as a "low priority for further investigation."
RPS says contractors have been performing tests more recently. The results starting in July show no methane found and levels within acceptable limits for other gases.
Opponents say the "spot-testing" results could change. The group says there are obvious dangers because methane is explosive, but also health concerns if the gas displaces oxygen.
School officials said Wednesday the methane detector system at the facility doesn't work. Now, they're weighing the cost of fixing it versus performing periodic testing. The Chief Operating Officer says at minimum there will be "periodic testing at this school throughout the duration of its use."
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