BELTON — Bell County Public Health District officials have given the former Fairway Middle School in Killeen a clean bill of health.
During the county’s efforts to shelter Hurricane Harvey evacuees, one person contracted a drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA while being housed at the former school.
The building, which had been for sale, sheltered 1,390 evacuees.
In a letter to the Killeen Independent School District, Bell County Public Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell stated the county can assure the school district and any potential buyers that the former school is clean and free from the MRSA bacteria.
“Monitoring of the shelter was done daily by the Bell County Public Health District epidemiologist, who did not receive any reports of any other cases of MRSA or other potentially contagious illnesses,” Robison-Chadwell stated.
Bell County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Harmon said he will deliver the letter to Killeen schools Superintendent John Craft.
The letter for Killeen ISD is to assure prospective buyers they are purchasing a clean school, Bell County Commissioner John Fisher said.
KISD, however, has discussed another possibility for the former school building.
The district had decided to put Fairway, 701 Whitlow Drive, up for sale in September. On Nov. 14, it reviewed bids in closed session and rejected them without explanation in open session.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 9, Craft said Fairway could possibly be used for some students from East Ward Elementary School while a new building was built. That new school is one of the projects listed for a proposed $426 million bond issue that could be on the May ballot.
The county’s Building and Grounds Department cleaned the former school. They used cleaning methods approved by the Environmental Public Agency and cleaned all areas of the building, Robison-Chadwell stated.
The cleaning team focused on high touch surfaces — such as door knobs and tabletops — locker rooms, showers and restrooms, the public health director added.
Fisher and Commissioner Tim Brown said the Building and Grounds Department, which is led by Director Mark Meyer, did an excellent job cleaning the school.
“I was confident they would do a better job than any contractor,” Bell County Judge Jon Burrows said.
As a precaution, state officials instructed Bell County to destroy an estimated 600 cots after the staph infection was found. The state is expected to replace the cots.