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Blue Mountain votes to build new elementary school

Blue Mountain Elementary West has been closed since last year due to mold problems.

ORWIGSBURG, Pa. — Blue Mountain School Board members approved plans to demolish Blue Mountain Elementary West and build a new school on the same site.

Blue Mountain Elementary West was built in the late 1980s and district officials say it was plagued with problems from the start because of poor construction. There were gaps within the exterior walls. Then a pipe burst last March which led to a mold problem.

"They have to do something because let's face it, it's not good for the kids. It's not good for anybody,” said Craig Lehman of Friedensburg.

When the new school year began in August officials opted to keep the school closed and send some 300 students to other nearby schools.

It'll cost about $20 million to demolish this building and build a brand new school in its place.

“The building is not inhabitable right now. It's not safe. Looking at all the different venues, renovating or not, it just makes more sense to build,” said David Helsel, superintendent of Blue Mountain School District.

The Blue Mountain School superintendent says as of right now, taxes will not go up because of the construction project.

While the new school is being built, students from Blue Mountain West will continue going to Cressona Elementary and the old St. Ambrose School in Schuylkill Haven.

Demolition is expected to begin on Blue Mountain Elementary West sometime between late spring and early summer of this year.

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