RFSD asbestos removal project nears $1 million
Workers are spending the entire summer at Glenwood Springs High School removing asbestos, a project that has proven expensive for Roaring Fork School District Re-1. All told, asbestos removal in local schools is costing RFSD $935,000.RFSD Finance Director Shannon Pelland said Thursday the district is spending $750,000 in asbestos removal at GSHS, up from the $400,000 the district budgeted for the project. Pelland said the district will use contingency funds and money it was able to save from construction at Sopris Elementary School to pay for the added cost of the asbestos removal. A similar project, costing $185,000, is in progress at Glenwood Springs Elementary School. The price of asbestos abatement at the high school is so high because most of the school is being demolished, and asbestos must be removed before a building is torn down, Pelland said. Adding to the cost was asbestos found in the True Value building the district demolished to make way for the new high school. Pelland said asbestos was found in the building’s concrete foundation slab and in some of the old houses next to True Value that were torn down. The cost of asbestos removal in those buildings, which Pelland said was much higher than originally anticipated, is included in the total cost of abatement at the school. Pelland said the district was even concerned about asbestos in the dirt in a crawlspace beneath the school because once the school is torn down, that asbestos could become harmful dust. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring cancer-causing fiber used in old construction materials – floor tiles, cement pipes, wallboard, plaster, chalkboards and others – found in many old school buildings. Pelland said RFSD has been removing asbestos from its old buildings for nearly two decades. To ensure the safety of students, RFSD has had an asbestos monitoring program in place for years ensuring that the district is in compliance with state and federal regulations governing asbestos exposure and air quality, she said.
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