ANOTHER NEGLIGENT MON SCHOOLS ELEMENTARY SITE
Opened in 2006, Skyview (consolidated) Elementary sits far from residential areas and uphill from Morgantown Industrial Park. Think about that for a moment. What a brilliant location for the lungs of young children! Now, with an impending new road and upgraded water and sewer lines, the Industrial Park is set to expand.
First, such school siting is flat wrong in more ways than one as we have documented in detail at this site. Schools and schoolchildren benefit from being located in neighborhoods. And vice versa.
Second, in 2009, Skyview Elementary had to be closed in the midst of the school day (along with next-door Westwood Middle) due to Industrial Park “smoke [that] got into the schools’ ventilation systems and filled the buildings with smoke.”
During such an incident the previous year apparently, the students were not evacuated and “had to deal with it.” One wonders (and the School District should test for) what difficult-to-detect toxins on a more regular basis pass into the school ventilation systems there above the soon to expand Industrial Park.
Duane Nichols, spokesman for the Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition, said the two well sites are too close to the Skyview Elementary and Westwood Middle schools, just off River Road, as well as to the area’s water supply and the other facilities in the Morgantown Industrial Park.
“And this is just the first of more wells to come,” he said. “We’re all going to be in a state of emotional distress.”
Bartolo said he understands there’s concern for the public welfare and what sort of impact Marcellus shale drilling could have on water and air.
“It makes sense to me with that kind of impact looming over us that somebody puts the brakes on this and further investigates it,” he said.
And now “a fixed frac water recycling facility in the Morgantown Industrial Park” is moving in on Skyview Elementary. What’s next, a nuclear waste dump? That’s what happens when Mon Schools sites schools with great negligence: the unknowable and the uncontrollable.
The impending Eastwood Elementary Mileground site faces the same kind of potential disasters, only worse, given the always present vehicle exhaust air pollution and arterial highways and intersection crash hazards and entrapment by congestion.
If Eastwood is built on the Mileground, and if there is a calamity at or near the Eastwood Mileground site involving school children – 3 year-olds to 11 year-olds – and it takes only one calamity – then the top county and state school officials should go to prison. Or what are the good laws for?:
By the Legislative Rule that is State Board Policy 6200, new school sites are explicitly, specifically mandated (not recommended) mandated to be “located away from hazards and undesirable environments, such as“:
“[a] arterial highways, heavily traveled streets, traffic and congestion…[b] noise, toxic gas escapes from…odoriferous plants or industries…[e] bulk storage plants for flammable liquid…. [f] Situations where a combination of factors such as those presented above could contribute to the possibility of human entrapment.”
The insoluble conditions of all the provisions in “a” and “f” currently exist at the site and will always exist. The “noise” provision of “b” currently and insolubly exists at the site. Provision “e” and the latter half of provision “b” are impending at the site, or at the least seriously threatened, in the form of a Sheetz gas station that has been schematically designed. Sheetz is eager to open and operate this gas station at the immediate border of the Eastwood Mileground site, close to the building itself. These are insoluble, plain English, new school, student safety violations of this Legislative Rule that has the force and effect of law, and to which the Defendants are bound by state Code. This is a highly unusual site in being so extremely unstable and therefore negligently unknowable, even as it is projected to degrade in its immediate environmental quality year-by-year. This is an extremely hazardous site, potentially lethal, and projected to intensify in hazards, year by year, decade by decade, to an ultimately unknowable yet increasingly more menacing degree. The alternative site is an extremely safe, stable residential location that is lawful and suitable in every way.
And look out, Skyview: