Tests have confirmed the odor that forced the closing of Westland High School most of last week did not originate in any of the building's systems or equipment.

Tests have confirmed the odor that forced the closing of Westland High School most of last week did not originate in any of the building's systems or equipment.

South-Western City Schools Superintendent Bill Wise held a Feb. 20 press conference at the school, 146 Galloway Road, about the odor that sent several students and staff to local hospitals.

Also speaking were Prairie Township Fire Department Chief Stephen Feustel, district coordinator of property services Mike Waller, Franklin County Health Commissioner Susan Tilger, and representatives of outside consulting companies Tony Furst of Heapy Engineering and Shawn Ansbro and Karrie Bontrager of Lawhon and Associates engineers.

"At this point, it is clear that we have been unable to identify a cause," Wise said. "We are confident that all our systems are operating normally."

No odor or symptoms were reported since Feb. 14, he said.

Closed since Feb. 14, Westland reopened for classes Feb. 21. Wise had said the district would continue to test the building's environment before, during and after the school day. He also said the school has used all of its calamity days.

The school was first evacuated the morning of Feb. 13 after an odor was detected in one of the classrooms.

A staff member reported an odor at about 8:30 a.m., Wise said.

Four staff members and nine students experienced nausea and/or dizziness and were transported to hospitals. The Prairie Township Fire Department and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office were at the scene, along with the district custodial staff.

Results on Feb. 13 indicated that all systems were operating appropriately, with no indication of any substance that could be harmful to students or staff, Wise said. The district reopened Westland on Tuesday and received another report of an odor in the same area by midmorning. Two more people were taken to the hospital, and the school again was closed.

Symptoms included mild headache, nausea, vomiting and upset stomach, Feustel said.

Waller described the odor as chemical. Some said the odor gave them a metallic taste in their mouths.

The district is not yet able to share a cost estimate from outside consulting companies Heapy Engineering and Lawhon.

Furst said the afternoon of Feb. 14 was spent conducting evaluations, which included examining the building's air, boiler, plumbing and sanitary and air conditioning systems. During the investigation, he said all mechanical equipment was found to be operating exactly as prescribed by code.

Lawhon was contacted Feb. 14 by the district, and was on site that afternoon to conduct air quality tests, Bontrager said.

Testing continued throughout the week to identify airborne contaminants that could be associated with symptoms and odors reported. Testing was performed both near and away from where the odor was detected, as well as in control locations that had separate air handling systems and at outdoor air intake areas.

The findings of the testing to date indicate contaminants of concern were not detected, or were "present at concentrations well below both occupational and risk-based standards and guidelines," Bontrager said. "L and A did not identify a condition or an exposure within the complaint locations or adjacent space that would pose a risk to the environment or to human health."

Test results available on the district's website.

"The school coordinated all resources appropriately," Tilger said. "Everything was done in a very safe and thorough manner."

Wise said an outside source might be responsible for the odor. The district has tried to collect information from those near the area when the odor was detected.

The building's 16 air handlers are mounted on the roof, which is not accessible to students, Faust said.