ITHACA, N.Y.—Lehman Alternative Community School on Chestnut Street in Ithaca was evacuated shortly after classes began Thursday morning after staff noticed a mysterious odor coming from the school’s gymnasium.

The Ithaca Fire Department and New York State Electricity & Gas responded to the situation but could not be reached for comment. A representative of Tompkins County Dispatch said a press release might be made available later to release more details.

According to school secretary Lisa Gervais, occupants of the building were told to leave while the fire department and NYSEG conducted an investigation into the smell. After being outside for around 30-45 minutes, everyone was allowed back inside.

Gervais did not say the school expected something specific from the smell, just that several people were made aware of it and subsequently notified the authorities.

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at