Education

Possible gas leak closes Spanaway school. Students bused to other schools

UPDATE: The gas smell was caused by a defective natural gas appliance, according to Puget Sound Energy and the Bethel School District. The device was removed.

Spanaway Middle School volleyball and Boys & Girls Club was canceled Wednesday. Football and cross-country were not impacted. An evening Battle of the Books competition has been moved to Spanaway Lake High School because of an unrelated power outage.

A normal school schedule is planned for Thursday.

ORIGINAL POST: Spanaway Middle School is empty Wednesday as staff and Puget Sound Energy respond to a possible gas leak, said Bethel School District spokesman Doug Boyles.

Staff noticed a gas smell at the school before students arrived. Spanaway Middle School had a scheduled 2-hour late start, but students were en route by the time staff noticed the smell.

Buses took students to nearby Sprinker Recreation Center and students who walked or arrived by other means were taken to an outdoor area at the school. The students were then bused to Spanaway Lake High, Cedarcrest Middle and Liberty Middle schools. "Students are in class," Boyles said. "Just in a different location."

The school district has been updating parents via email.

MESSAGE 1

"Good morning Spanaway Middle School families.
"Staff at Spanaway Middle School noticed a gas smell in the building this morning before students arrived. They called the fire department who arrived and are currently at the school. Puget Sound Energy has also been called to check the building.
"Students on buses have been diverted to Sprinker Recreation Center for the time being. Some of the students who were on the buses will be moved onto different buses and/or inside Sprinker, if their bus was needed for other bus runs.

"Walkers and students who were dropped off at the school are being held in the ballfields and some are at the gym at Thompson Elementary.

"We will reach out with another message as soon as we learn more details.

"Thank you."

MESSAGE 2

"Good morning Spanaway Middle School families. This is an update to an earlier message about the gas smell at Spanaway Middle School.
"Because of the timeline required for Puget Sound Energy and the fire department to investigate the gas smell at Spanaway Middle School, we will be moving students and staff to three different schools for the day. They will be using libraries, gyms, and other spaces in the schools for class. Students will also get lunch.
"As soon as we know which schools we are using, we will send an updated message.
"Thank you."

MESSAGE 3

"Good morning Spanaway Middle School families. This is the third message about the gas smell today at Spanaway Middle School.
"The schools that will house Spanaway Middle School students today due to the gas smell at the building have been identified. Students are now being transported by grade level to three schools in the district.
"6th graders are going to Cedarcrest Middle School, 7th graders are going to Liberty Middle School, and 8th graders are going to Spanaway Lake High School.
"Some students with special needs will not be housed by grade level. Those parents will receive a second message following this one.
"We are currently working on plans for transporting students home and will contact you again once that information is finalized.
"Thank you."

MESSAGE 4

"Good afternoon Spanaway Middle School families.
"Puget Sound Energy was called to investigate a gas smell at Spanaway Middle School this morning. A natural gas appliance was found to be defective. It has been removed from service.
"Spanaway Middle School students are being bussed this afternoon from their alternate school locations back to Spanaway Middle School to access their regular transportation home.
"As far as Spanaway Middle School after-school activities are concerned, volleyball and Boys & Girls Club are canceled. Football and cross-country practice will take place as scheduled.
"Due to the unrelated power outage at Spanaway Middle School today, which did not allow for continued new air circulation, we are moving tonight’s Middle School Battle of the Books to the auditorium at Spanaway Lake High School. Battle of the Books begins at 7pm.
"We know this has been a different kind of day for our staff, students and their families. We appreciate your patience as we worked through this situation together.
"Thank you."
Craig Hill: 253-597-8497
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