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Ascension School System ventilating flooded school buildings

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ASCENSION PARISH- Ascension Parish School System leaders announced temporary buildings at four Ascension Parish Schools are being ventilated after volunteers and teachers complained of throat and eye irritation from a strong ammonia like odor. The complaints came when the buildings were getting prepped for students.

The buildings are located at Galvez Middle, Galvez Primary, Lake Elementary and St. Amant High.

Superintendent David Alexander said the ventilation is being done to rid the odor in the buildings. It was initially discovered at Galvez and Lake Elementary, but the School System decided to do ventilation at St. Amant as a precaution.

Balloon like plastic bags were installed to the windows of the T Buildings after environmentalists, air quality and engineering experts tested the buildings. They were consulted about the mysterious odor, that remains unidentified at this time. The School System said it's not harmful, despite people complaining of the throat and eye irritation.

Parents like Jessica Dufour want to make sure schools are safe for children when they return from summer break next week.

"That worries me," Dufour said. "They are just finding it out? Will it be safe for Wednesday when they start for school?"

Right now, Dufour is also troubled that the School System did not send out notices to the parents to let them know what was going on.

"I'm concerned that I had to find out through the media instead of the school contacting me to let me know what was going on," Dufour said.

Ascension Parish School Leaders were unavailable for an interview, but Superintendent David Alexander said the students' safety is their top priority. He said since the ventilation began, the smell is no longer there, and all will be re-tested before school begins.

The School System provided the following statement:

"While preparing for the return of school, we learned that some of the new temporary buildings that were closed with little to no air conditioning running during the hot summer accumulated a strong odor. We immediately engaged the manufacturer, air quality and engineering experts to assess the issue. As the odor was not present in temporary buildings that were used regularly over the summer, it is believed to be a buildup of new construction smells normally vented out from regular use. Although assessments revealed no dangerous levels in the classrooms, crews are currently venting the buildings to remove the odor and all buildings will be tested by environmental experts before the start of school."


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