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North Park Montessori School to reopen after getting clean bill of health


Grand Rapids Public Schools announced it will reopen the North Park Montessori School for the new school year this August.

The building was closed on Feb. 20 after possible asbestos exposure was discovered in classrooms where a new air conditioning system was being installed. The school’s 364 students and staff were moved to classrooms at GRPS University, 1400 Fuller Ave. NE.

North Park Montessori School was closed Feb. 20 after possible asbestos exposure was discovered in classrooms

In a May 20 letter to parents and staff, Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal said subsequent “aggressive” air testing for asbestos, lead and silica came back negative in all but one sample. That sample came back below federal standards.

Parents are being invited to a meeting to explain the test results and the reopening plans on Tuesday, May 28 at GRPS University. The 6 p.m. meeting also will be live-streamed at live.grps.org.

GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt said contractors will now complete the installation of the new air conditioning system project that triggered the scare. The building also will be given a thorough cleaning by Global Green Service, a certified asbestos removal company.

The district also is determining which items will be cleaned and returned to the students and staff, and which items will be disposed of because they are too difficult to decontaminate, Helmholdt said. A contractor was hired to videotape each room in the building to help catalog the items left behind.

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James Harger
James Harger left School News Network in January of 2020. James previously reported on West Michigan's economy, courts and politics for The Grand Rapids Press and Mlive.com for more than 37 years. He also is employed as Servanthood Leader at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Grand Rapids. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he also has worked for publications in Holland, Mount Pleasant and Lansing. He is married to Lisa and has one daughter, who lives in Ann Arbor.

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