The Buncombe County Schools' proposed STEM campus. (Aug. 6, 2012/FOX Carolina)
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -
Many parents do not want to hear about hidden dangers at their students'
schools, but concerns are looming over possible contamination at an
Asheville-area high school.
During last week's Buncombe County School Board meeting there was a decision made to investigate ground, air and water contamination at the proposed site for the new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) High School.
The proposal is to turn a building attached to the school district into the new STEM school.
One board member raised the contamination concern because an area on Bingham Road is an inactive hazardous waste site, according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.
The district said ground water in the area was contaminated with petroleum and other carcinogens from nearby plants in the 1960's and was discovered in the mid 90's. Those sites are across the street from the proposed school.
The school district also said those problems have since been remedied and to their knowledge are no longer an issue. School officials said the facility's water is piped in from the city, so contamination is not an issue, though they are checking to see if the air could be contaminated.
"I think it's important for people to understand that at this point we truly do not know that we have a problem inside this building," said Dr. Tony Baldwin, Buncombe County Schools superintendent. "We've not been made aware of an issue."
Buncombe County Schools said an independent company will run tests on the area and that they expect to have the results back within a month.
Until then, plans to renovate the district's old career tech building into the STEM school are on hold.
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