LAS CRUCES—Parents of 233 students who attend Central Elementary School were informed on Jan. 17 that an environmental test found mold in the 68-year-old building.  Dr. Greg Ewing, superintendent of the Las Cruces Public Schools, directed that the entire school be cleaned immediately to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff. Principal Susie Hendee said Southwest Hazard Control has been hired to eradicate the mold over the next several days. Students will not be able to attend classes in the school, located at 150 N. Alameda, to allow a deep, thorough cleaning.

“Our staff has been amazing in quickly preparing for classes to be held at two nearby, off-campus locations,” Hendee said. “The community neighbors have been so gracious to give us a place for the kids to continue their studies.” Hendee said.

“On Thursday and Friday, Jan. 18-19, kindergarten-through-3rd grade classes will be held at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 225 W. Griggs, less than one block south of Central Elementary. Classes for 4th-and-5th grades will be held at the Las Cruces Boys’ & Girls’ Club, 330 W. Las Cruces Avenue, also one block away from the school. Parents were notified that on both days, meals will be delivered to the students and all students should bring their backpacks to school.

The students will walk from Central Elementary to the alternative sites, with the supervision of their teacher, at 7:55 a.m. on both days. At the end of the school day, students will again for escorted by the teachers back to Central at the normal dismissal time.

On Monday, Jan. 22, the students will not need their backpacks because they will be on a school field trip, said Hendee.  They will walk with staff at 7:55 a.m. to St. Paul’s Church to have breakfast.  At 9:00 a.m., they will board buses to attend a free movie at the Cineport Theatre at the Mesilla Valley Mall.  Following the movie, students will travel to Peter Piper Pizza for lunch.

“While the kids are enjoying their field trip, the plan is to have any last-minute clean-up finished, if any,” Hendee said. “We expect classes to resume their normal schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 23rd.”

Hendee will hold a parent meeting at 5:00 p.m., Monday, Jan. 22 in the school cafeteria to give parents an update on the building.  Officials from the LCPS Administration will also be attendance to answer questions.

Parents who choose to keep their children at home over the next couple of days should send a note to school indicating which day the child will be out.  Parent’s written notes are needed if the absence is to be excused, district officials said.

Central Elementary was built in 1949 after the original school, built in 1904, was torn down. In addition to being one of the oldest schools in the school district, it is also the smallest populated elementary school, serving the area surrounding the downtown area of Las Cruces.

–For more information, contact Chief Communications Officer Jo Galvan, 575.527.5811,