TARPON SPRINGS — A 20-foot-long cluster of sinkholes opened up at Tarpon Spring High School before the start of classes Friday.
A school staff member noticed the sinkholes around 6:45 a.m., 20 minutes before students typically start arriving on campus, said Pinellas School District spokeswoman Wolf-Chason.
"They were able to secure the area before students came on campus," Wolf-Chason said. "The school day was able to continue relatively normally."
The sinkholes — one large hole measuring 12 feet deep flanked by a couple of smaller openings — opened near the school's culinary arts building, Wolf said. Students who have classes there were reassigned to other buildings for the day.
The $13.5 million Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy opened in 2009, according to the school's website. The area previously was home to an elementary school.
It was unclear what caused the sinkholes. A team of school district and city of Tarpon Springs officials are investigating. A ground penetration radar test was scheduled for Friday afternoon and should provide more details by Monday, Wolf-Chason said.
Officials on site are filling the holes with dirt this afternoon, Wolf-Chason said.
There is construction happening on campus, but early analysis shows the two events are unrelated, Wolf said. The construction is happening on the opposite side of the school and does not appear to have triggered the sinkholes.
The school's maintenance manager secured the area and staff is monitoring it to make sure students stay clear.
The campus perimeter is secured at night and on weekends, Wolf-Chason said.