School board member questions new tech high school site - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

School board member questions new tech high school site

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Second floor hallway of Marycrest building Second floor hallway of Marycrest building
School Board member Bill Sniadecki stands near the Marycrest building in South Bend School Board member Bill Sniadecki stands near the Marycrest building in South Bend

The front of Marycrest building, owned by the South Bend Heritage Foundation, is looking like it will be the future home of a new high tech high school. But, not everyone is on board.

South Bend School Board member Bill Sniadecki says,"It was a good building in it's day, I just don't think it's suitable for use right now."

Sniadecki says he received an anonymous email raising red flags about the back of the building. It also said the building is on a superfund clean up site. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency office in Chicago, the area was never a superfund. It was given a superfund reference number several years ago when some barrels were removed.

Even though the school will be located in the front of the building, Sniadecki's worried possible water leaks, mold and asbestos in the back could endanger the students.

Sniadecki says, "The tenants that are in there now, I hear a lot of complaints about the mold and the smell."

One of those tenants is the Children's Dispensary who have been in the building for over 35 years.

Executive Director April Kwiatkowski says,  "One example, got take a ride in the elevator. It is absolutely horrible."

Kwiatkowski says her office was recently damaged by a water line break and that likely added to the problems.

Kwiatkowski says, "I'm sure there is mold in this building, there's got to be. There is moisture in the walls even from the recent flood in December."

Not too far down the hall is the South Bend teacher's union office.

Maryann Zimmerman with South Bend NEA says,  "It's a little musty when it rains in the elevator but our office is fine, we don't have any leakage."

They say for the most part, there haven't been any issues lately, but they did have water damage problems several years ago.

And that worries Sniadecki, who says it's time to look for another location.

Sniadecki: "I'm not saying stop. We need to keep searching for investors and look at other locations and continue looking at this."

According to city officials, there is a wall the separates the front of the building from the back and that some time in the future, the back will may have to be torn down.

Sniadecki feels the school board should take another six months to make sure they're making the right decision and should look at the St. Vincent DuPaul building, LaSalle Square or the Brown Mackie College site are possible locations for the school.

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