Chemicals melt Reading schools plan

October 24, 2008 8:15:11 AM PDT
The Reading School District is halting its planned purchase of a Hershey candy factory slated for closure after the discovery of asbestos and benzene there.

The Reading school board voted unanimously this week to invoke an opt-out clause in the $3.85 million sale agreement with The Hershey Co.

The district wanted to build three elementary schools on the 9-acre site. The district hopes to build seven new schools in the next three years.

Superintendent Thomas Chapman Jr. says the district still plans to build smaller, safer schools, but wouldn't say if he's looking at another location.

He says the district might reconsider the site if Hershey cleans it up. Hershey plans to close the factory early next year.

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