Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: Does Anyone Know if the Old Somerville Tech Trade School Was Ever Professionally Decontaminated Before We Allow Them to Carelessly Place Our Winter Hill Students in There?

Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,

I remember as a student in 1977 attending the Somerville Technical Trade School auto shop that was located on Otis Street in Somerville. I remember I learned a lot there in that school especially memories that I will cherish forever.

I also remember draining all sorts of different oils, transmission fluids, hydraulic fluids, battery acids and other toxic liquids directly into oil pits as well as onto the floor that eventually ran its way to drains which seep and run beneath the building. We were only kids and what did we know, but as a grown-up, I can only imagine today the environmental disaster, which lurks beneath the floors of that building. Did it ever get a thorough cleaning? Who knows?
I still remember back in the day when it rained out you could smell the stench of discarded oils coming up from the ground, does that still happen?

After the trade school left that building, they use the space for the Somerville Boxing Club, which turned out many young bright aspiring athletes and kept them off the streets on a straight and narrow path to adulthood. I wonder if any long-term sicknesses have ever affected any of the students/athletes that trained there over the years? Time will tell?

After hearing of the Somerville Boxing Club’s recent closure and displacement on Facebook and in the news, it caught my attention and now I’m hearing that the city may be placing the children/students of the Winter Hill Community Innovation School in that space in there, I wonder if it is safe to even consider that building as an option? Has the property ever been professionally decontaminated of all those toxic fluids that may still be absorbed into that floor? Let’s just hope that nobody gets sick in there and like I said “Time will tell.”

Paul Class of 77


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