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District closes 2 Phoenix-area schools for structural repairs

(Google Maps Photos)

PHOENIX — Two schools in the West Valley will be closed for at least a month after discovery of structural issues in some of the buildings.

Challenger and Landmark middle schools in the Glendale School District could be closed as long as five weeks, the district office announced in a notice at its website.

“Knowing what we now know, we could not ethically or morally allow students back on to those campuses until the repairs are made,” district Superintendent Joe Quintana said in a statement.

“Our first priority must be the safety of our students and staff, and this is why we took this step.”

Weaknesses and damage to walls were found during a routine check in an improvement project. Repairs could cost up to $2.4 million.

Jim Cummings, a spokesperson for the Glendale Elementary School District, confirmed the State School Facility Board has approved the estimated in repairs but there is no timetable on when work will begin.

Classes at both schools were canceled through Wednesday. District officials said Landmark students will attend half-day classes starting Thursday morning at Desert Spirit School, while Challenger students will go to Bicentennial Middle School beginning Thursday afternoon.

Some parents are a little nervous about the move for their children.

“They’re used to being on a certain schedule and you’re uprooting them and you’re putting one whole day in a couple hours,” said Ashley, who is a parent of a first, third and fifth grader at Landmark. “That’s going to kill them for these five weeks.

“As parents we’re sitting there biting our fingernails wondering, ‘Are they getting on that bus to come to us? Or is there a situation where one of our kids got left behind?'”

Another parent named CJ, who has a kindergartner at Landmark, shared the same worries.

“Trying to figure, do we give him extra homework at home on our own? Even his own teacher doesn’t know. It’s just concerning, because you know you wonder, you’re disrupting your child’s education.”

The district announced at its planned three meetings Monday the split schedules for students at the four schools will not include enrichment subjects like music and art.

Challenger Middle School is near 69th and Maryland avenues and Landmark is near 57th and Myrtle avenues.

KTAR’s Corbin Carson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.