The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

    Odor invades World Languages hallway

    The foul odor that has plagued the World
    Language hallway has struck again, and according to students and staff, it is
    even more prominent than in years past.

    According to a 2010 Observer article, a 2009 inspection performed by Building
    Dynamics, LLC, a private consultant hired by the county, determined that the
    odor was attributed to “floor drains from the boiler rooms.” Five years after
    the inspection, the sewage system is still to blame.

    “The smell is coming from the sewage system under the school,”
    building services manager Angel Delgado said. “It then enters the building
    through the ventilation system in the bathrooms and through open windows in the

    Students and teachers first noticed the problem over 10 years ago, after the
    school’s modernization, and while the issue has been addressed several times,
    the odor seems to always make its way back into the classrooms.

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    “I do not remember it being an issue before the modernization,”
    Principal Joan Benz said. “It became a problem afterwards, and it has been
    pretty constant ever since.”

    According to Benz, there is only so much the school can do to fix this issue
    and ultimately, it is up to MCPS to come in and address the situation.

    “We have a whole department of environmental protection employed by MCPS
    that looks into these things,” Benz said. “When the smell appears,
    building services contacts them and they come and check it out.”

    According to Delgado, the county has addressed the issue on several occasions
    and treated it as recently as last year.

    “The plumbing department sent a couple of plumbers over and they went to
    the roof to check on the vents where the smell was coming from,” Delgado
    said. “They then connected the vents to one pipe, which was intended to
    direct the smell outside and away from the classrooms.”

    Despite these efforts, the odor is still an issue that teachers and students in
    the foreign language hallway deal with daily.

    “It smells like someone took a lot of eggs out of the refrigerator, left
    them out in the sun for hours and then smeared them all over our
    classroom,” junior Nesma Belkhodja said.

    Not only is the smell unpleasant for those affected by it, but it also disrupts
    classroom instruction.

    “When you smell it, it is just awful,” Belkhodja said. “It makes
    it hard to focus on work because the smell suffocates you.”

    According to a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous, the odor reaches a point
    where they have to stop teaching to try and fix the issue.

    “Sometimes the smell is so overwhelmingly disgusting that it becomes a
    disruption to the class because we have to stop what we are doing,” the
    teacher said. “We have tried using a spray to mask the smell, but some
    students are allergic to the spray, so that is not a very healthy solution

    Despite the concern that teachers and students share about this issue,
    according to Delgado, nobody has reported the odor to building services this

    Teachers have contacted building services on several occasions in years past
    but according to the anonymous teacher, have recently been less inclined to do
    so because the problem seems to come back either way.

    Until a student or staff member contacts building services again, however, the
    county will not hear about the issue nor resolve it.

    “I know it is a concern to everyone, but we have to go to the county and
    follow the process,” Delgado said. “And for that, I need to have
    proof that this is happening. If someone smells it, they need to contact me so
    I can forward the issue to the county and they can come check it out. I will
    get them here tomorrow if I have to.”

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    Odor invades World Languages hallway