Subsidence forces Swansea district to move middle school students
Wolf Branch Middle School students are being moved indefinitely to the Wolf Branch School District’s elementary school in Swansea following mine subsidence damage, according to the Belleville News-Democrat (BND).
“While extra space at the (Wolf Branch) Elementary School is limited, the administration has developed a plan to utilize nearly every square inch of the building,” District 113 Superintendent Scott Harres wrote in a message to parents. “We know that these moves will create growing pains and hurdles. However, in the interest of our students’ safety, and following today’s consultation meeting with the Department of Natural Resources’ engineers, we have concluded that there is not a viable alternate way of safely serving daily hot lunch selections.”
The 15-year-old building sits atop the abandoned Summit Mine, and the ground that it rests on is gradually sinking despite efforts to prevent subsidence, Harres told the newspaper.
The damage forced the district to restrict access to parts of the school, including the cafeteria, gym, locker rooms and weight room, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommended further restrictions, prompting Harres’ decision.