staircase closed
PHOTO COURTESY NATHANIEL WODNICK A closed-off staircase at Montclair High School on Oct. 31. The stairs were closed after loose tiles were found on the landing.

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

A fifth staircase has been closed at Montclair High School due to potential structural issues.

Superintendent Kendra Johnson sent an email to parents on Wednesday, Oct. 31, alerting them that stair tower 14 was closed after staff noticed that the staircase was potentially unsafe as some tiles loosened on the stair landing.

Assessors were at the school examining the stairwell as of 12:36 p.m., Johnson told Montclair Local.

“Today, we noticed a compromised area on the landing of stair tower 14 and exit 19. The location is the stair tower leading to the second floor science wing (stair tower directly in front of the Restorative Justice classroom). We closed the stair tower immediately. We will assess, which includes plaster testing, a contractor review and an architectural review,” said Johnson in an email.

Another stairwell will be used to access the science wing.

The tentative plan is to repair the stairwell Nov. 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11,” Johnson said in the email.

The issue may be minor, she said, but experts were needed to determine how significant the damage is. She said parents would be kept informed.

Stair tower 14 is near the rear of the high school, and is in the section of the school that was built in 1959, according to a floor plan of the school. It is located approximately halfway between the school’s cafeteria and the auditorium.

The staircase is the fifth at the school to be closed this fall.

All four of the staircases in the original 1914 section of the high school have been closed since September, after a staircase facing Park Street partially collapsed on Sept. 7. The district is making plans to have those staircases rebuilt.