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Repairs to Loudenslager Elementary School Frequently Asked Questions
Posted On:
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
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Related Files: Letter from Mr. Morina
Letter from Mr. Browne - 5th Grade Relocation
Letter from Mr. Browne - 6th Grade Relocation

Why was Loudenslager Elementary School closed on November 4th, 5th and 6th?

On Friday, November 1, 2019, students and staff heard a noise in the ceiling of their 2nd floor classroom. The administration immediately investigated the situation and found that some of the plaster ceiling had fallen onto the suspended ceiling.   The plaster came from the original ceiling that was installed when the school was constructed in 1926. The suspended ceiling was installed much later.

The administration immediately contacted the district engineers. The engineers were onsite the same day. At that time, the engineers suggested that the district check all of the classrooms, hallways, lavatories and offices on the second floor of the school. On Sunday, November 3, 2019, this investigation took place. Unfortunately, the same loose plaster situation existed throughout the second floor. At this point, the administration made the decision to close Loudenslager Elementary School until plans could be made to relocate students and staff from the second floor.  


What caused the loose plaster situation at Loudenslager Elementary School?

Over the years, roof leaks allowed water to penetrate into the school. This water accumulated on top of the plaster ceilings on the second floor.   Wire lath connected to the concrete roof rafters serves as the base for the plaster ceiling. The water caused the wire lath to deteriorate and weakened the plaster.

The suspended ceiling is connected to the wire lath.   This placed extra weight on the already weakened ceiling.

The roof was replaced and upgraded in 2016. In addition, the brick veneer of the building was repaired and the window lintels were replaced in 2015. As a result, water is no longer leaking into the school.


How will the ceilings be repaired?

The first step in the repair process was to determine if there was any hazardous material present. On Monday, November 4, 2019, environmental specialists tested for both asbestos and lead paint. No asbestos was found in any of the 14 samples tested. Twenty-one samples were tested for lead based paint. None of the samples contained lead based paint.

On Monday, November 4, 2019, the contractor was at the school to begin to develop a plan to repair the ceilings. He returned to the school with the structural engineer and subcontractors on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, in order to develop a complete scope of work and cost for the repairs.

The repairs will be done one room at a time. The walls and floor of the room will be lined with plastic. An air scrubber will also be installed to be certain that no dust leaves the room. Debris will be bagged then removed from the room. The suspended ceiling and lights will be removed. The plaster ceiling and wire lath will then be removed. Following the removal, a new suspended ceiling will be installed as well as new LED lights. When all work is complete the plastic liner will be removed. The contractor will then move to the next classroom. The contractor expects that it will take about 4 or 5 days to complete each classroom. As a result, the second floor of Loudenslager Elementary School will not be used until early February 2020. The repair work is limited to the second floor of the building.

How will the Board of Education pay for these repairs?

The contractors have not yet provided a final cost estimate for the work. Preliminary information indicates that the cost of repairs may be in the range of $200,000 to $250,000.

The administration contacted the insurance carrier immediately to determine if any reimbursement might be available. At this time, it is unclear if the insurance company will cover any portion of these repairs. More information will be forthcoming when it is available.

The administration is also in contact with the New Jersey Department of Education to determine if any type of “emergency aid” is available to help pay for the repairs. Again, more information will be provided as it becomes available.

At this point, the only source of funding for this “time is of the essence” project, is the money earmarked to repair the ceiling in the Paulsboro High School Auditorium. The administration is seeking approval from the New Jersey Department of Education to use these funds to pay for the repairs at Loudenslager Elementary School.


Where will students go to school while repairs are made to the second floor of Loudenslager School?

Third and fourth grade students will continue to use their classrooms on the first floor of the school.

The classrooms of grade five students will be relocated to other rooms on the first floor and lower level of Loudenslager Elementary School. The library, music room, art room and faculty room will be used as classrooms for the 5th graders until the repairs are made. Special subject teachers such as art will go to the classrooms in order to continue instruction in these subjects.

Grade six students will move to Paulsboro High School while their classrooms are being repaired. The students will use classrooms that are clustered next to each other on the ground floor. The 6th grade students will follow the same arrival and dismissal schedule as they used at Loudenslager School.
When they arrive at school they will be greeted by teachers and enter the building through a different entrance than used by high schools students. Breakfast will be served in their classrooms. They will eat lunch in the cafeteria when high school students are not present. They will have access to the gym, wrestling room and outside areas for physical education and recess. All special area subjects will continue for these students. The students will be served by the Paulsboro High School nurse. Dismissal for the 6th graders will take place after the high school students depart the building.

Loudenslager Elementary School Principal Matthew Browne and his staff will move between the elementary school and high school to be certain that all of the students’ needs are met. In addition, Paulsboro Junior High School Assistant Principal John Giovannitti will help with the supervision of the 6th grade.

Mr. Browne will provide much more detailed information to the parents of the Loudenslager School students.


How will students make up the time missed during the three days when Loudenslager Elementary School was closed?

The administration will work directly with the leadership of the Paulsboro Education Association in order to make the needed changes to the calendar to accommodate for the Loudenslager Elementary School closing on November 4, 5, and 6, 2019.   This will be done as quickly as possible so that parents and staff members can plan accordingly. More information will be forthcoming as soon as possible. Only the Loudenslager Elementary School staff and students will need to make-up these days in order to meet the 180 day state requirement because Billingsport Early Childhood Center and Paulsboro Junior-Senior High School remained open on November 4, 5, and 6.


How can I obtain more information?

Parents of Loudenslager Elementary School students can contact Principal Matthew Browne for additional information.

Parents and citizens can also contact Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Walter Quint for more information.

The administration will provide updates as the repairs move forward via letters, social media and on the school website.

The Interim Superintendent of Schools will also make a complete report to the Board of Education at its November 25, 2019 meeting.