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Opinion >  Letters

Dangerous grounds

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about the three new middle schools that the voters approved with a bond that passed in 2018. Two are in the process of construction, the third, near Mullan Road Elementary on the South Hill, is slated to be opening in August of 2023.

The elephant in the room with this one is the fact that it’s planned to be built — the school, parking lots, fields, etc. — on a site that is the perimeter to an enormous abandoned landfill which sits just to the south. There are locked vent pipes scattered around the build area, and dozens of tall pine trees. Also on this site is an enormously popular dog park. I’ve walked this fifteen-acre area for years and one can’t miss stepping on partially buried, exposed garbage throughout. How deep the garbage goes is anyone’s guess, but it seems an extremely risky and unstable environment on which to build a school. An informed source told me recently that the existing school directly east has had pollution issues in parts of that building.

Why the school district has chosen to build a brand new school over the perimeter of a huge old landfill nearly defies logic. Maybe the engineers know something we don’t, but is this really the best place to site a new school near a toxic landfill that is still burning off methane? It was proposed to extend the dog park over that landfill but it’s been deemed too dangerous to the public to do that. And they want to build a new school next to that? Would you want your kids going to school there? What could possibly go wrong?

David Vogel


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