Students and staff are finally back at the joint Philadelphia high school that was one of the most visible examples of asbestos issues in the city's school buildings.
Hundreds of students returned to class Tuesday at Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy on North Broad Street.
Balloons, noisemakers, music and hugs greeted students as they arrived Tuesday morning.
“We’re so happy to be home,” Franklin culinary arts teacher chef Keith Pretlow. “… They deserve nothing but the best.”
The good feelings started Monday as school leaders, including Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said, smiled as they showed off the $37-million renovation project. A revamped gym, lunch room and classrooms await the school communities.
Franklin principal Christine Borelli said she feels safe with the remediation work that was done and thanked school families for their patience during the monthslong closure where classes were held at another location.
The renovation project was necessary to remove thousands of square feet of asbestos.
“Asbestos, lead, these are symptoms of a much bigger problem” of other aging school buildings, Hite said.
So far, at least 10 schools have closed due to asbestos this school year.