SHALER (KDKA) – Students in the Shaler Area School District head back to class tomorrow and it will be the first time, elementary kids will be allowed to enter the cafeteria since April.

When students return to Shaler Area Elementary tomorrow to begin the school year, the cafeteria will look a lot different because some big changes have taken place over the summer.

Those changes were made in the name of safety after duct work collapsed from the ceiling in the cafeteria on April 3, during fourth grade lunch. A total of seven students and five staff members were injured.

After the incident, the cafeteria was off limits.

“Once we found out that we had an issue, we wanted to make sure we took care of any safety concerns that we had here and also at our gyms at the high school,” Superintendent Dr. Wesley Shipley said.

Over the summer, crews made repairs and gave the room a whole new look. The ceiling used to have an industrial feel with exposed beams, but no longer.

“We’ve changed the type of duct work from the heavier round to the square light weight sheet metal duct work and we have more vents coming out, so the air flows differently than it used to,” Dr. Shipley said.

Cosmetically, crews painted and installed some new tile.

Dr. Shipley is pleased with how it all looks, but most of all, he said it is safe.

“The things we’ve put in place to ensure their safety went above and beyond. LLI Engineering and Tedco Construction did an excellent job to get the work done in a safe manner and in a timely manner as well,” Dr. Shipley said.

Dr. Shipley also said parents and students have no reason to be concerned.


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