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Sinkhole Found at Shawnee Elementary School

A sinkhole opens up in front of the entrance to Shawnee Elementary School after heavy rains last weekend.

A gaping hole has developed in front of in what officials believe might be the first sinkhole found this year.

Students learned about the sinkhole Tuesday afternoon and the hole was partitioned off with orange cones and a fence about the size of a parking spot.

"We never before have had a sinkhole in our three years here," Principal Josephine Galloway said. "Our kids are going to think we're getting a swimming pool."

On Tuesday afternoon, Galloway was outside directing traffic, moving buses away from the area. Students were also dismissed from the middle door instead of the main door near the school business office.

Michael Simonetta, the chief operating officer for the Easton Area School District, was on the scene Tuesday.

"We knew about it on Monday," he said. "We had our contractors do some digging and it was a decent size area near the entranceway. We opened it up and found something going toward the school. We were surprised about that. So we looked at it and took care of it."

Mark Roberts, Forks Township's public works director, said the school didn't inform him about the sinkhole.

"No kidding. How about that?," said Roberts. "Typically, it's more private than the township," he said. "They would take care of it themselves."

The school district contracted Imperial Excavating and Paving of Allentown to fill the sinkhole.

Roberts had given a report last month at a chamber of commerce luncheon that Forks Township will have this year because of the dry weather.

Last year, Forks Township dealt with , including one so devastating that it shut down stores in a Sullivan Trail strip center for about a month and anchor for almost three months.

Of those 43 sinkholes, Roberts said 18 were on township land. Roberts said the township spent .

Roberts said the 2 inches of rain the region received Sunday probably contributed to causing the school sinkhole.

"There are no other sinkholes in the township right now," Roberts said. "We don't have anything at this point. We're really fortunate."

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