A school district in Trumbull County is trying to figure out what is causing their hallways to crack.

Cracks in the walls, raised floors and buckled metal. All problems the Brookfield Local School District has been dealing with.

“The more we look at this, the more we know it’s going to be a big construction job,” said Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor.

School officials say the construction job will take a year to plan. One solution is clearing out that part of the school and removing as much shale as they can.

It is slated for the summer of 2020.

Students started class in the new K through 12 building back in 2011. The problems started a few months later.

Taylor says the problems go beyond the typical new building settling.

“There’s some subsidence in the floor in the middle school caused, we believe, by reactive shale, pyritic shale,” she said.

Taylor explained that pyritic shale runs through a vein underneath the part of the building that holds the middle school.

“That exposed that shale that was 15 feet down to air and water. Once it’s exposed to air and water, it starts to react and it actually expands,” she said.

This is not the same as Marcellus and Utica shale that is associated with fracking for natural gas and oil. 

Taylor says the district has hired attorneys with engineering backgrounds to work on their case. It’s a pressing issue but they’ve determined there’s no danger to students.

“We’ve had people in here a lot. They’re looking at it and they’re assuring us that it is not unsafe,” she said.

The district is still figuring out the exact fix and how they will pay for repairs.