A Natrona County school that closed last year due to a gas leak is nearly ready to re-open. A new ventilation system has been installed and one round of air sampling tests shows encouraging results.
Staff and students at the Midwest School noticed a gas-like odor at the end of the school year in 2016. It turned out an inactive natural gas well was releasing dangerous contaminants inside the building.
Doug Tunison, Project Manager for the Natrona County School District, said the new ventilation system is a network of pipes under the building that can catch any rising gasses.
He said, “The real danger is if it gets inside the building, it can get trapped and the concentrations build up. So the idea is to get anything that may be underground and keeping it from getting in the school."
The gas would then be exhausted through vent above the school.
Tunison said positive first round results of air testing was an important step.
“As soon as we had the mitigation system in and knew it was working, that’s pretty much over the hump,” he said.
The results of the second air tests have yet to come in — there will be two more before the expected start day of the Midwest School in the fall.