Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy will be closed for the rest of the week after an environmental check found asbestos in the two schools, according to Action News.
The two Philadelphia schools, which share a campus in Spring Garden, will undergo additional air tests to ensure that occupied areas are safe, Action News reported. The asbestos was found in damaged insulation material in the campus boiler room, which is unoccupied and located below the basement.
Additional asbestos fibers were detected at a lower concentration in the Science Leadership Academy common space, which is currently under construction, according to school officials.
This is not the first asbestos-related school safety concern to affect the Philadelphia school district. According to Action News, William M. Meredith Elementary was also known to have tested positive for asbestos, and there were concerns over a longtime teacher’s mesothelioma diagnosis. The condition is known to be linked to asbestos exposure.
Actions News reported that the school district has dedicated $20.7 million to remedy asbestos and lead paint concerns this fiscal year alone, but it has acknowledged more funds are needed. There have been over 1,600 projects relating to the abatement of asbestos in the district in the last three years.
A $37 million construction project, which includes the common space, caused the start of the school year to be delayed twice and has been the cause of hazardous conditions at school, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.