Meth contaminated materials are being removed from a caretaker’s cottage at Waiheke High School.
Tests by a professional company last month showed meth contamination that indicates “someone at some point used something in there”, says school board of trustees chairperson Andrew Walters.
The level of contamination does not suggest methamphetamine, commonly known as P, was manufactured at the property, which is on Ministry of Education land on the Hooks Lane side of the school, he says.
The cottage was tested for methamphetamine contamination “as a precaution” when a staff member left the house late last year.
Police were promptly informed of the contamination and are continuing to investigate, though no charges have been laid at this stage, says a spokesperson from Waiheke police.
Mr Walters says high school students don’t go into the cottage and there are no reports of students having come into contact with meth on the site.
“We’re spending a significant amount of money making that property fit to live in and that’s a shame, but at no time was it a danger to any of the kids.
“As soon as we were aware of the issue, we acted on it.
“The kids’ education and welfare is not going to be affected at all by this.”
The clean up, by Auckland company Asset Restore, began on 9 January and all contaminated materials will be removed before students arrive for their first day at school on 31 January.
Workers are pulling out ceiling panels and carpets and sanding back the timber walls in the cottage, and a shed on the property will be removed.
“We have taken every precaution we can, probably more than we need to, because if there is contamination there at all, we have got to do something about it,” says Mr Walters.
The school is recruiting a new staff member to replace the person who left, so wants the cottage to be ready for use as soon as possible.
The cost of decontaminating the buildings is not yet known, but the school is talking to the Ministry of Education about the possibility of gaining extra funding to cover the unexpected expenditure.
“It’s an unwelcome discovery and I’m really disappointed to find it.
“For me, it’s a worrying trend in New Zealand.
“It came as a surprise to us – it does make you wonder how many people are in rental properties where it is an issue,” says Mr Walters.• Rose Davis

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