Chatham, Illinois – Asbestos will be removed from four school buildings in the Ball-Chatham School Dist. this summer.
According to officials, an asbestos abatement project will be performed at Ball Elementary, Glenwood Intermediate, Glenwood Middle and Chatham Elementary Schools.
According to David Murphy, the director of facilities & grounds for the school dist., the estimated cost for the asbestos abatement project is $950000.
Murphy says all the buildings were constructed in the 1970s or even earlier when asbestos was a very commonly used building material. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the presence of asbestos in those buildings, he said. It should be removed as a part of the forthcoming roof and bathroom renovations, Murphy said.
Any building constructed before the 1980s has the possibility to have the dangerous mineral in it, Murphy said. If asbestos is present in a building, it should be removed prior to any renovation or demolition project, he said. Asbestos abatement itself is a tedious and time-consuming project which requires the service of a licensed asbestos abatement contractor, according to Murphy.
The school district will continue accepting bids for asbestos abatement until 10th April, he said. Murphy is planning to start the project on 1st June and to have it finished by the beginning of August.
The removal of asbestos will affect the bathrooms of all the 4 school buildings and a roofing work at GIS. David Murphy said the roofing abatement would cost approximately $644000. The 4 bathrooms would cost $303000 in total, he said.
Asbestos is a heat- and fire-resistant fibre popularly used in building installations. It could be present in construction materials including roofing shingles, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, cement, and insulating materials. The risk of asbestos exposure significantly increases when the material is disturbed or broken. When disturbed, asbestos releases its fibres into the environment. These fibres are easily inhalable. Asbestos exposure has been linked to terminal ailments such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaques and lung cancer. Because of such risks, asbestos is highly regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
According to Murphy, asbestos abatement projects like these are not uncommon during school renovations because many of the schools in the United States were built prior to the 1980s and they still contain asbestos. The school district would close the areas undergoing abatement, he said. It will remain closed for everyone except the contractors until the work is finished, Murphy said.