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updated: 8/27/2013 4:16 PM

Gnat infestation closes portable classroom in Glen Ellyn

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  • A portable classroom at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Glen Ellyn remains closed this week because it was found to be infested with gnats.

       A portable classroom at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Glen Ellyn remains closed this week because it was found to be infested with gnats.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

A portable classroom building at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Glen Ellyn isn't being used during the first week of school because it was found to be infested with gnats, officials said.

The discovery was made about a week before the first day of school, and pest companies have been working since then to eliminate the bugs from the portable unit, Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 Superintendent Paul Gordon said.

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The district hired two pest companies to perform remediation work, which includes setting fly traps. Most of the insects have been killed, but officials continue to check the traps on a daily basis to make sure all are gone.

"We're going to hold off putting any kids or staff in there until we are 100 percent sure there are no insects or flying bugs in that facility," Gordon said.

The portable building housed two classrooms with about 50 students total. Those classes were moved inside the school building at 380 Greenfield Ave. in rooms originally intended as "STEAM labs," where students in grades two through five would have received special instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Once the portable building reopens, those classrooms will be earmarked as STEAM labs, according to Julie Worthen, the district's spokeswoman.

It's unclear exactly when the portable unit will reopen, but Gordon said when he first heard about the infestation he wanted to wait at least two weeks.

District officials didn't immediately know the age of the portable unit, but said of the 32 portables the district has, it is one of the oldest.

The district began using portables in 2001, and many, like the one at Lincoln, were acquired used.

It is also one of the first targeted for replacement, said Bob Ciserella, the district's assistant superintendent of finance, facilities and operations.

Lincoln parents were scheduled to receive a letter with an update on the situation Tuesday.

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